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Newsletter - Unregulated Dutch online market much larger than expected ...and more!

Netherlands Gambling Authority to open licensing procedure for horse racing betting monopoly

In the Netherlands, horse racing betting is subject to a legal monopoly and may only be offered by the holder of the single totalizator license. The current totalizator license, which is held by ZEbetting & Gaming Nederland BV, expires on 30 June 2022.

Last week, the Netherlands Gambling Authority announced the start of a new license award procedure covering the period of 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2027.

The application procedure consists of two phases. During the first phase all applications will be assessed based on criteria such as reliability, integrity, and demonstrable experience with offline sports betting. If several license applicants meet these criteria as defined, lots will be drawn to determine the winner of the award procedure.

Each applicant will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of € 32,000 for the processing of the application.

Applications can be submitted from November 1 to November 30, 2021.

Netherlands Gambling Authority chair apologizes for problematic market launch, warns operators to take responsibility regarding marketing volume

In a personal blog post, Netherlands Gambling Authority chair René Jansen has apologized for the chaotic launch of the regulated Dutch online market, which was marred by a series of technical malfunctions of the national exclusion register (CRUKS).

Jansen also explicitly warned operators to show restraint in advertising their services:

“If marketing becomes too visible and operators are not showing sufficient restraint, there will be an understandable growth in social opposition to gambling advertising. It is very important that operators are aware of this and take their responsibility. Not everything that is legally allowed is also prudent. It is unwise to push the limits of what is legal, especially when it comes to targeting young people.”

Netherlands Gambling Authority to inspect gaming arcades

The Dutch regulator announced that it will visit several slot machine arcades in the coming months to check whether these venues meet their new registration obligations.

As of April 1, 2021, land-based slot machine arcades have been obliged to record data about possible excessive gambling participation and resulting interventions. Starting October 1, these venues must also record the visiting frequency of individual players.

Bet365 goes live in the Netherlands, Kindred to keep its services closed to Dutch residents

As of yesterday (Tuesday), Bet365, one of the largest online betting and casino operators in the world, is now live in the Netherlands.

The operator reported revenues of £2.81bn during the fiscal year 2019-2020. The company CEO and majority shareholder, Denise Coates, awarded herself a £421m pay package in 2020.

Meanwhile, Kindred announced on the same day that it has decided to keep its services closed to Dutch residents until a license is awarded by the Dutch regulator. Kindred also said it will be ready to submit a license application in Q4 2021, which means that the operator could go live as early as Q2 2022.

Betsson's new board of directors decides to keep Pontus Lindwall as CEO

Based on Betsson’s near time to mid future priorities such as the mitigation of the unexpected Dutch decision and the US entry, the newly elected Board of Directors has decided to revoke the decision communicated on September 19 to replace Pontus Lindwall as CEO of Betsson AB, the company said in a statement.

“The current Board does not believe that it would be good to change leadership now. The company needs to focus on all important work that lays ahead, such as, for example, the unexpected Dutch situation,” said Johan Lundberg, Chairman of the Board of Betsson AB.

Bizarrely, an iGaming events organizer, which earlier had launched a #bringbackpontus campaign cheered Betsson's reversal, claiming that its campaign to re-appoint Lindwall had received “overwhelming support from the entire industry.”

Upcoming events

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

  • 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.

Unregulated Dutch online market much larger than expected

As we reported earlier, the recent shift in the Netherlands Gambling Authority's enforcement policy, caused several operators currently subject to the cooling-off period to withdraw from the Dutch online market for the time being.

Several of the affected operators were forced to re-adjust their profit expectations. Based on these publicly shared figures, it became quickly apparent that the unregulated Dutch online market was significantly bigger than originally estimated.

Accordingly, consultancy firm Regulus partners adjusted its projection of the size of the online Dutch market in 2020 from ca. €400m to €750m. This means that the regulation of the Dutch online market may bring less overall growth than expected, as a much larger than originally estimated segment of potential players was already gambling online.

Combined with the apparent effective use of enforcement measures directed at payment service providers, it now seems likely that the Dutch market regulation will have as its major effect that already active online players will move to regulated offerings. While some growth is, of course, still to be expected, the number of new players is likely to be relatively low.

Other news

The Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA) is looking to hire an Advisor Public Affairs & Stakeholder Management.

Playtech has launched its multichannel technology, including a new live casino studio, with Holland Casino as part of its strategic co-operation announced earlier this year.

Following months of negotiations, DraftKings declined to make an offer on Entain.

Platform provider Kambi has reported revenue of €41.6m for the third quarter of 2021, a 48% increase from the prior-year period.

The overall UK problem gambling rate fell from 0.6% in September 2020 to 0.3% in September 2021.

Kindred Group reported a quarter-on-quarter decline in the amount of revenue it generated from harmful gambling, with this falling to 3.3% in the third quarter of its financial year.


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