There will be 10 licensed operators to start in the Netherlands’ new KOA online gambling regime, which will officially open on Friday 1 October.
The development was disclosed by René Jansen, chairman of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) – the Netherlands gambling regulatory authority – who was speaking to delegates of the Gaming in Holland Conference.
The 10 applicants will be revealed by KSA tomorrow morning ahead of the market’s launch, for which Jansen stated that it was taking stringent precautions until the last minute.
“Tomorrow, 10 licence applicants will be informed that their applications were successful, meaning that as of 1 October they are allowed to provide online gambling services.
“I understand that you would like to know who they are. And I am very sympathetic – however, as always, we need to be careful. The announcement will proceed as follows: tomorrow we will be announcing to applicants if the licence has been granted through the individual digital portal on which the application was submitted.”
KSA had previously stated that it would grant 29 licences for the launch of the KOA regime. However, Jansen clarified that the regulator had always planned to oversee KOA’s initial licensing window in a phased approach, evaluating applicants thoroughly.
“I’m sure you must be thinking: 10 licences – weren’t there 29 licence applications? That means roughly only 1 in 3 were granted. And yes, that’s correct, there aren’t very many yet. I would like to point out that this is only the beginning of the legalisation and regulation of the online market.
“We are moving into a phased opening of the market. Applications are still pending and we expect to receive a significant number of new applications by April 2022.”
Jansen also revealed that several operators had postponed submitting applications, preferring not to observe KOA’s ‘cooling-off’ period and that other rejected applicants had simply failed to meet qualifying standards.
The KSA chairman said that the regulator was ambivalent as to whether it had reached its pre-market licensing quota, adding: “Quality is more important than quantity. Kansspelautoriteit is committed to only granting licences to applicants who truly are good enough.
“The bar is set high and we assess all elements of the licence applications very seriously – the latter can also be interpreted as stringently. I think the proof of that lies in the fact that of the 29 applicants, only 10 have actually been allowed to get started.
“I don’t cite the motto ‘be very well prepared’ for nothing, as we encountered a substantial number of flaws in the licence applications.”
Following the initial launch, Jansen stated that KSA’s attention would focus on safeguarding the Dutch market against black market threats,
He shares the opinion of Dutch Minister for Legal Protections Sander Dekker that “more intensive enforcement of the actions of operators with a major illegal market share has the potential to act as a catalyst for an accelerated transition of players to a legitimate gambling offering”.