The launch of the Dutch iGaming industry is finally set to go down on October 1, 2021. Although this is one month later than expected, it's still a welcome relief for Dutch online gambling fans. In January, the Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker, announced April 1, 2021, as the new date when the Dutch Remote Gambling Act (KOA) will come into effect. The minister also said that the market would fully open on October 1, 2021.
It's important to note that KOA was initially supposed to become law on July 1, 2020. Also, the country's gambling market was to open in January 2021. However, a six-month delay reared its ugly head on November 2021 to bring the launching date to July 1, 2021.
As if that's not enough, Dekker again announced another delay on the KOA law in September 2020 to bring the launching date to March 2021. With the latest delay, Dutch online casino and sportsbook fans will have to wait for the third time to get a piece of the action.
Responding to queries from the country's lawmakers, Dekker explained that the delay is absolutely necessary because the government had realized that slow implementation of new laws could create a better implementation environment.
"Earlier, I informed you that we are aiming for entry into force on March 1, 2021. Although the implementation is proceeding energetically, it has now become clear to all involved that careful implementation takes a little more time," he said.
"For this reason, we shall postpone the entry into force of KOA Act by one month until April 1, 2021, so that Kansspelautoriteit and the gambling sector have sufficient opportunity to complete preparation. The opening of the market will take place on October 1, 2021." Dekker added.
Despite the start-stop rollout of the Netherlands gambling industry, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), which is the industry regulator, has announced that it expects to license at least 35 operators by October 1. The state-run watchdog announced that it would start reviewing license applications as soon as the KOA becomes law on April 1, 2021. KSA disclosed that it expects the majority of the license applicants to be offshore companies.
As expected, the KOA will be pretty strict on operators looking to get its license. First of all, the final report has set the license fee at €48,000 up from €45,000 proposed in the previous amendment. Also, this fee is non-refundable, whether the license application is accepted or not. Additionally, the law clarifies that the eligible operator's control database should be located in places where KSA officials can physically and unconditionally access it. Another thing, professional athletes and other influencers or role models aren't eligible for the license.
Meanwhile, online and mobile casinos offering live games must ensure that players participate via a live video feed. For clarity purposes, the new law adds that only qualified croupiers should manage the live dealer rooms. Also, dealer's and punters' behaviors should be registered and monitored via video, and any Autoplay feature is prohibited.
After full implementation of this law, the Dutch gambling industry would become one of the most attractive, albeit with the steep licensing fee. But as evidenced in other strictly regulated markets like the UK, gambling laws are subject to reviews. According to Dekker, the laws regulating the iGaming market will be subject to review every three years. Overall, it's an excellent step towards making Netherlands gambling safe, secure, and profitable for all parties involved.