Netherlands’ Gambling Authority Makes Its First Remote Gaming Regulating Moves

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May 3, 2008
The Netherlands House of Representatives has moved to approve the Remote Gaming Act on 19th February 2019 following years of obstruction and debate on the matter. They have set the foundations for a regulated and licensed online gambling market which complies with the EU competition's standards.

The Act will be implemented through a Royal Decree and the licenses granted by next year. Until then, many major industry’s stakeholders and brands have the time to prepare for the Dutch market and get their licenses. The Dutch regulatory body Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is the body which will need to publish the initial licensing framework, and apparently, they have begun testing the waters and fining operators who used to serve Dutch players even without the Netherland’s permission, with the aim to clean the area and make room for a fresh, new start of the online gambling in Holland.

The First Moves by Kansspelautoriteit

The Dutch gambling regulatory body was acting as the aggressive watchdog during the two-year course when the Netherland’s government discussed the Remote Gaming Act. KSA’s aim was to fine all those international operators who were providing access to Dutch players to their online casinos and gambling offerings, without the Netherland government’s permission.

Therefore, the KSA has started punishing several of these illegal operators in 2018. The first in line were MRG Group, Betsson, Betclic and Mr Green. Fines that totalled in €1.7 million were paid by these operators, due to their breach of Dutch laws despite having been continuously warned to stop all their illegal operations that involved Dutch players.

The newest move by the Kansspelautoriteit is fining two other operators with €400,000 each. 1x Corp N.V and Exinvest Limited were the gambling firms that were first fined after the Remote Gaming Act was approved by the government. Namely, the Curacao-licensed 1x Corp N.V was offering Dutch players its services through and

The KSA detailed that both of these operators were offering players the convenience to play using their native Dutch language, and using the payment method iDeal. Additionally, they did not geo-block Dutch IP addresses from accessing their sites. In fact, it was revealed that these two companies were behind more than 83 online casino and betting websites that offered services to the Dutch people off a single account.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Kansspelautoriteit reminded again that online gambling in the Netherlands was and is still illegal, up until further notice, up until licenses are being issued to operators by the KSA. Under the current legal regime, he said, it is not possible for online gambling operators to be licensed to offer games of chance online, therefore, everyone who used to offer and still offers them will be accordingly fined.

1x Corp N.V. Fights Back

1x Corp responded to KSA’s accusations with an appeal, stating that the €400,000 fine was unwarranted. In part, as the operator said because the business volume that derived from sites who accepted Dutch players was incredibly small, contrary to what KSA said. 1x Corp further detailed that the company has not been warned nor informed in advance of the KSA's concerns, and if it was, it would have acted sooner to block Dutch players from joining.

Apparently, 1x Corp N.V’s intent is ensuring that the company won’t be denied the permission to apply for a license under Netherland’s newly re-regulated and more liberalized remote gambling market.

However, the company is a known troublemaker. It tends to target unregulated markets and offer their players access to online gambling, therefore, its destiny in the Dutch online gambling market is yet to be determined.

KSA Tests the Interest

After imposing the necessary fines, the KSA went on to invite online gambling operators to send expressions of interest for applying for a remote gaming license and operating in the Netherlands. The watchdog wants to establish how many international operators would be interested in getting a license to operate in the Netherlands, so as it posted, the completion of the expression form is non-binding. With the register it obtains thanks to these forms, the regulator would be able to inform the interested parties from time to time on the latest developments.

As KSA hinted, the expectations are that the license application fees would be anywhere around €40,000. However, the official legal framework is still under discussion in the Senate, so the KSA is still to publish it.
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