Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Netherlands gambling regulatory authority, has confirmed that the regulated market launch of the ‘Dutch Online Gambling Act’ (KOA Act) will be delayed by one month until 1 October 2021.
The decision follows an intervention by Sander Dekker – the Dutch Minister for Legal Protections who has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the KOA Act.
Yesterday, Dekker informed the Kamer that the KOA Act required a one-month delay to finetune the technical requirements relating to the launch of the regulated market place.
Dekker’s decision will see the launch of the KOA Act licensing window pushed back to 1 April 2021, with the official opening of Dutch igaming market taking place on 1 October.
The intervention marks the third delay in the launch of the KOA Act, which was originally scheduled to pass into law on 1 July 2021.
In November 2019, having already agreed on final frameworks, Dekker approved a series of last-minute amendments to toughen operator compliance requirements and provide the KSA with additional controls to protect the market against unlicensed operators.
In his statement to the Kamer, Dekker underscored the importance of launching the marketplace with all licensed operators providing direct access to ‘CRUKS’ – the Netherlands’ new gambling self-exclusion scheme which is operated by KSA.
Dekker also replied to two separate KOA motions which were addressed by opposition ministers.
Madeleine Van Toorenburg, a representative of the Christian Democrats, questioned whether the government would call for the development of EU-wide laws which will protect member states’ markets against illegal operators.
Dekker replied by stating that under current EU-laws, gambling policy required no common harmonisation on policies nor standards, with member states allowed to individually establish their own gambling laws and market requirements. As such, the development of EU-safeguards would be difficult to undertake.
However, Dekker maintained that the KSA had played a prominent role in raising standards through its drafting of the KOA Act.
Meanwhile, Green Party representative Niels Van den Berge questioned whether the government held any European comparisons on how state-run lotteries would be impacted by the opening of a regulated online marketplace.
Dekker replied by acknowledging that an assessment has been carried out as part of the government’s research into launching the KOA Act. However, the minister detailed caution in contrasting the Dutch state lottery’s future performance against ‘mature markets’.
The minister drew attention to the UK and Norway markets, citing these as two examples of countries which had launched online gambling regimes and maintained the performance of lottery sales for good causes.
Protecting lottery performance was underscored a key objective of a successful launch, as Dekker and the KSA aim to avoid a situation witnessed in Italy and Denmark where lottery sales were immediately impacted by market launch.