Ten online gambling operators were granted licenses by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) in the Netherlands on October 1. However, none of the sites were able to launch in the market right away due to a technical problem related to problem gambler exclusion [Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen (Cruks) self-exclusion system]. Four Dutch companies were the lucky recipients of licenses including two that the state has a share in ownership of – Holland Casino and the Dutch Lottery (Toto). BetCity and Fairplay are the other two local companies that received authorization to offer online gambling services.
Offshore companies pick up 6 licenses
Six offshore companies also gained licenses, in no small part because they haven’t recently or ever provided unregulated gambling in the market. Those licensees are Livescore Malta, Tombola, Play North (Batavia), Hillside (Bet365), Bingoal, and NSUS Malta (GG Poker). Of the initial 100 or so companies that showed interest in the new permits, about 30 actually applied for licenses. NOS.nl indicated that among some of the reasons those firms’ applications were rejected might be down to them not being able to fully comply with the rules which include monitoring and responding to problem gambling behavior. Others that were ineligible to be considered included large European firms such as Pokerstars, Unibet, and Bwin who fell under a ‘bad actor’ clause related to providing unregulated gambling services in the market. Simply offering online services through web pages written in Dutch or accepting commonly used payment methods like iDeal was apparently enough to bench the companies. The waiting period or penalty time for those operators has been set at 6 months. Officials want to see all elements of legal and regulated online gambling offered to residents so they won’t feel drawn to illegal operators who happen to offer different gambling products.
The more the merrier
René Jansen, Chairman of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) and the new Chairman of the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF) said: “There is a wide range: poker, roulette, [sport]
bets, slot machines and bingo. It’s a nice offer for the start, but if this is the end picture, this is not nice. Players should have something to choose from. They are used to that from the illegal offer in Europe. wider choice for the players.” The technical malfunction of the CRUKS system is currently unclear. Compliance specialist GBG announced in October of last year that the government had begun to implement the regulatory framework for the market. The firm’s website explains that the registry has to be checked every time a player logs in by checking their unique CRUKS code. While the parameters of the identity check are different for individuals with or without a BSN (Citizen Service Number), the result that is returned should be either a yes or a no. No residents can play without an operator’s ability to check if a person has self-excluded, or had been added by a family member, or listed in the database by an operator.
Source: ‘Rien ne va plus’, and when online gambling can be done is unclear, NOS News, October 1, 2021