September 22, 2020 - 8:54 am

Opening up of Dutch online gambling market delayed, again

Some gambling companies already feared it: a delay of the online gambling market. And it has happened once again. Instead of 1 January, the Remote Gambling Act will be implemented on March 1, sources report.

Debate about online gambling market

There have been discussions about the gambling law for years. Should the online Dutch gambling market open up in the Netherlands or not? Time after time the opening of the market was postponed. For years people have been debating over what the law should look like. Last year the law was finally passed. Only this year the exact interpretation of the law has been finalized.

Gambling industry is divided

This summer, the Dutch gambling industry was divided over the impending postponement. Director Niels Onkenhout of the Dutch Lottery wasn’t happy because of the enduring discussion: ‘We are now the Albania of Europe. As the last country we are releasing the online gambling market. Postponement has been on the agenda for far too long.’

Letter to the House of Representatives

The postponement of the law has yet to be announced. This might happen on Friday, with a letter to the House of Representatives. The ministry cannot confirm this. The postponement means that the monopolies of the handful of licensed parties on the Dutch market, like the Dutch Lottery (including Toto and the State Lottery), the Postcode Lottery and Holland Casino will continue to exist for a longer period of time.

Foreign gambling companies can’t wait

The parties mentioned above are the only ones who are legally allowed to offer gambling. Online gambling is prohibited under current Dutch legislation. Almost two hundred mostly foreign gambling companies are eager to plunge into the Netherlands as soon as internet gambling is allowed.

License

Not all of companies will be allowed on the Dutch market. Probably a few dozen parties will get a license. Others will be rejected, won't get the necessary start payment or will sit on the penalty bench, because they have previously offered illegal online gambling in the Netherlands.

Holland Casino argued for postponement

Interestingly enough, Holland Casino and the gaming hall dome VAN did argue for postponement. In the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, they had to keep their physical branches open and their staff on board, while the doors were closed. These efforts meant that they could only temporarily prepare themselves less for the opening of the online market. Holland Casino, among others, has a desire to launch digital offerings as soon as it is allowed to do so.

More power for the Gaming Authority

The new gambling law also means that the Gaming Authority will have more power. That too is now being delayed. Moreover, the question is exactly when online gambling will start. The fact that the law takes effect on 1 March does not mean that parties such as Unibet and Party Poker will suddenly be legal. They are allowed to register as of that date, but when they can 'really' enter the market is still the question. Where that date was until Friday, July 1, that date may be closer to New Year's Eve than the middle of summer 2021.

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