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Netherlands Gambling Authority publishes policy rule on “cooling-off period”

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

In February, the Dutch Senate adopted a motion stating that online operators who “actively” targeted the Dutch market in the past will be subject to a two-year cooling-off period before they will be eligible to apply for a license. Today, the Netherlands Gambling Authority published a provisional policy rule outlining the specific provisions regarding this cooling-off period.

Cooling-off period can start at any time

The new policy rule states that operators must not have actively targeted the Dutch market during the two years prior to the license application. For instance, if an operator applies for a remote license on August 15, 2020, said operator must not have specifically targeted the Dutch market from August 15, 2018 onward.

However, this policy rule is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2021, i.e. one year after the first moment (currently estimated to be July 1, 2020) that operators can legally apply for remote licenses. Thus, online operators who continue to actively target the Dutch after July 1, 2019 will not be eligible for a remote license under any condition.

“Actively targeting”

The criteria that the Netherlands Gambling Authority will use to determine whether an operator actively targets the Dutch market are identical to the prioritization criteria published on May 30, 2017.

An operator is deemed to actively target the Dutch market if said operator:

  • offers its services through a website with a .nl extension;

  • offers its services in the Dutch language (either before or after the user logs on);

  • offers typically Dutch payment methods (specifically: iDEAL);

  • advertises in print media or during broadcasts aimed at the Dutch market;

  • offers its services through a website with a domain name that combines typically Dutch elements with gambling-related terms (e.g. “Windmill Casino”);

  • offers its services through a website containing expressions, symbols, or images that demonstrate a focus on the Dutch market.

Policy rule to be part of a broader “fit and proper” test

The provisional policy rule that was published today will become part of (and will at that point be superseded by) a broader policy rule that will, among other things, require a Public Probity Act (Wet Bibob) screening.

This broader policy rule to test the integrity of prospective licensees will be published at a later date.


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