Newsletter - Netherlands Gambling Authority announces first online licensees ...and more!

2021 GiH Conference highlights future opportunities for Dutch iGaming businesses and service providers

Tuesday's Gaming in Holland Conference was dedicated to the imminent opening of the regulated Dutch online gambling market on Friday, October 1.

However, as several speakers noted, this is not just the end of a long process but rather the beginning of something new.


“I would like to point out that this is only the beginning of the legalization and regulation of the online market,” Netherlands Gambling Authority (Ksa) Chair René Jansen said as he delivered the conference keynote speech.


“We are moving into a phased opening of the market,” Jansen continued. “Applications are still pending, and we expect to receive a significant number of new applications by April 2022.”


Jansen also announced that only ten of the initial 29 online license applications had been successful. “We encountered a substantial number of flaws in the license applications,” the Ksa chairman said, as he urged future license applicants to be “very well prepared” indeed.

Commenting on the unexpected recent changes in enforcement policy, Jansen admitted that it may now take “a little longer” to achieve the goal of an 80% player channelization rate. “Naturally, we would prefer this not to be the case, but if that’s the way it is, then we must accept it.”


A video recording of René Jansen's full speech is available here.


New business opportunities & Gaming in Holland Expo

With the opening of the regulated online market on Friday being “only the beginning,” there was also attention dedicated to responsible gaming approaches and initiatives, advice on future license applications, and attempts to come to some sort of sector-wide agreement on voluntary advertising restrictions.


During his opening remarks, Gaming in Holland founder Willem van Oort focused specifically on the opportunities offered by market regulation: “Looking at other newly regulated iGaming markets across Europe, we see, each time, that market regulation created a context and environment in which smart and innovative entrepreneurs were stimulated to develop products and services that later would have a major impact on the entire global gaming sector, which is a multi-billion industry.”


Local suppliers, service providers, and start-ups will be particularly welcome at the new Gaming in Holland Expo at the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, the Netherlands’ second-largest exhibition and convention center.


The Gaming in Holland Expo has been scheduled for April 2022 and takes place alongside the annual Gaming in Holland Conference. At this event, up to 50 exhibitors, a mix of emerging and established suppliers, will present themselves and their products to the Dutch gambling industry.


The Gaming in Holland Expo is being supported by local trade associations such as VAN Kansspelen and NOGA, as well as established Dutch operators, including Holland Casino, Jack's Casino, and Fair Play Casino.


Dutch trade association VNLOK fails to find support for gambling advertising code

The proposed voluntary gambling advertising code that was recently developed by trade association VNLOK has failed to generate sufficient support for implementation. VNLOK represents incumbent operators Nederlandse Loterij, Holland Casino, JVH gaming, Janshen-Hahnraths Group, and ZEBetting.


The new advertising code was ultimately blocked by leading Dutch consumer protection organization Consumentenbond.


“The advertising code as currently written is far too weak,” says Gerard Spierenburg, Consumentenbond's spokesperson. “Not enough is being done regarding the use of role models in relation to vulnerable consumer groups, such as young adults and people with mental disabilities.”


VNLOK has not given up hope, however. “We want to resume discussions with Consumentenbond as soon as possible. Together we must ensure that consumers are confronted with an advertising deluge,” says VNLOK Chair Helma Lodders.


Betsson and Entain to stop serving Dutch customers, Kindred to continue its offer in the Netherlands

Today, both Betsson and Entain announced that they would cease their offering in the Netherlands in accordance with the Netherlands Gambling Authority's recent enforcement policy changes announced last week.


Both operators indicated that they have taken this step so as not to jeopardize their future applications for a Dutch remote license.


Kindred, however, said it would continue to accept Dutch customers: “It is our understanding that there is no request from Dutch officials that international operators post 1 October block Dutch citizens from accessing their services.”


“As we have highlighted before, Kindred is compliant with the prioritization criteria outlined by the KSA and we are not actively targeting Dutch customers.”

This decision almost certainly means that Kindred, because of its large number of customers in the Netherlands, will be first in line for future enforcement action by the Netherlands Gambling Authority.


While this step might not necessarily endanger the operator's prospects of a Dutch remote license, it is nonetheless a high-risk strategy as the Dutch regulator has wide discretion to deny license applications based on the perceived reliability of the applicant.


Tipico latest operator to be fined by Netherlands Gambling Authority

The Netherlands Gambling Authority (Ksa) has fined operator Tipico €531,250 for illegally offering gambling to Dutch customers, just days before the country’s iGaming market opens.


Although Tipico refrained from “actively" targeting the Dutch market, as previously defined by the Dutch regulator, the operator nonetheless allowed customers from the Netherlands to register while its payment provider also offered limited Dutch language support.


More importantly, Tipico failed to implement an effective age verification process without actively blocking registrations by customers based in the Netherlands.


The Ksa's investigation further revealed that Tipico processed a total of 4,974 transactions involving Dutch bank accounts in the period from April 30 to July 31, 2020.

Mindway AI helps Dutch operators with player protection solutions


With the upcoming opening of the Dutch online gambling market, Mindway AI is ready to support its existing and new customers as a responsible gambling partner and solution provider.


Among existing customers in the Netherlands are Holland Casino and Tombola who have implemented or are in the process of implementing some of Mindway AI’s solutions, including GameScanner to identify at-risk and problem gamblers early and accurately and the Gamalyze self-test that creates self-awareness and provides advice to gamblers. Moreover, Mindway AI is an associated member of trade association VAN Kansspelen.


Mindway AI CEO Rasmus Kjaergaard: “The Dutch online market regulation is a natural next step as we also saw it happening in Germany earlier this year. With the increase in online gambling we have seen, software solutions to monitor gambling and to create self-awareness in gamblers are even more important as the human contact isn’t available, but gamblers still need to be protected from developing unhealthy gambling behavior. We are ready to help our existing customers with our expertise and solutions and of course also embrace new customers in creating responsible and sustainable gambling set-ups.”


Upcoming events

The following events may be of interest to the GiH community.

  • Kindred Group will host the 6th annual Sustainable Gambling Conference on 5 October. The event will take place online and is free to attend.

  • Get ready for the 2021 Gaming in Germany Conference, which will take place 25 October at the Grand Hyatt Berlin.

  • The half-day event Reputation Matters: UK Gambling's Future at Stake, which takes place on 2 November in London, will take an in-depth look at the current and expected regulatory pressure facing the UK gambling industry.

  • SiGMA Europe has been rescheduled to 16 – 18 November, 2021.

  • The Betting on Sports America conference and expo has been scheduled for 30 November – 2 December, 2021 and will bring together all the major players in the fast-growing North American sports betting industry

  • The World Gaming Executive Summit is returning live on 6 – 8 December, 2021 at the W Hotel, Barcelona.

  • ICE London and iGB Affiliate London have been scheduled to take place 1 – 3 February, 2022.

Netherlands Gambling Authority announces first online licensees

Today, the Netherlands Gambling Authority has announced the names of the first ten online license holders who will be allowed to go live in the regulated Dutch online market from October 1.


The following ten companies were awarded an online license:

  1. BetEnt BV: An online spin-off of the Casino City gaming hall chain, which operates several land-based casinos in the Amsterdam area.

  2. Bingoal Nederland BV: An established Belgian provider of betting and casino games.

  3. FPO Nederland BV: Fair Play Online is a subsidiary of the Janshen-Hahnraths Group, which is primarily known for its Fair Play land-based casino chain.

  4. Hillside (New Media Malta) Plc: AKA Bet365

  5. Holland Casino NV: State-owned Holland Casino is currently the only legal provider of (land-based) casino table games in the Netherlands.

  6. LiveScore Malta Ltd: A well-known sports media company, LiveScore also provides sports betting under its LiveScore Bet brand.

  7. NSUS Malta Ltd: Owner of the GG Poker brand.

  8. Play North Ltd: A small casino operator based in Estland and Malta, which currently operates Pikacasino and Rocket Casino.

  9. Tombola Ltd: The UK's largest provider of online bingo games.

  10. TOTO Online BV: TOTO is part of the Netherlands’ national lottery, Nederlandse Loterij and current sports betting monopolist in the country.

Notable first-round absences

  • JVH gaming: Owner of the land-based Jack's Casino chain.

  • Novamedia: Owner of the Postcode Lotteries format and largest charity lottery operator in the Netherlands.

  • ZETurf: Current horseracing monopolist.

It is widely expected, however, that several other licensees will be announced in the next two to three weeks.


Oher news

Kambi Group has signed a multi-year partnership with Dutch operator BetEnt to support the launch of the company’s BetCity.nl-branded online sportsbook in the newly regulated Dutch market.


Danish affiliate Better Collective has strengthened its position in the soon-to-be regulated Dutch online gambling market with the double acquisition of soccernews.nl and voetbalwedden.net.


Dutch public broadcaster NOS has produced a podcast series on match-fixing in the Netherlands.


Birgitte Sand, former director of the Danish Gambling Authority will be awarded the Compliance Lifetime Achievement Special Award at the 2021 Global Regulatory Awards.


The Swedish Football Association has suspended four players for betting and match-fixing offenses.


Scientific Games agreed to sell its sports betting division, OpenBet, to US-based media company Endeavor Group for $1.2 billion.


Finland is set to introduce payment blocking and a ban on slot ads in the country's new Lottery Act.


The UK Gambling Commission has fined EU Lotto, operator of Lottoland, £760,000 for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.