Although the online gambling industry emerged in the 1990s, the Netherlands started regulating it in 2020!

Although they took this step very late, better late than never! However, the Netherlands gambling regulatory authority does not have experience in monitoring gambling companies and combating malicious activities; Such as money laundering and terrorism financing. So, the Netherlands gambling regulatory authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has entered into a cooperation agreement with the most advanced licensing authority in the industry, UKGC.

Under the MoU, regulators will better support their oversight functions by sharing concepts and frameworks, seamlessly exchanging info, and applying the same enforcement and licensing policies.

Certainly, the first beneficiary of this cooperation is the KSA as they will take advantage of UKGC's extensive experiences. The UKGC was established in 2005 and it has strong legal expertise, an impressive track record in dealing with all types of online gambling providers, as well a wide knowledge of the iGaming industry.

In this regard, KSA Chairman Renee Janssen stated that this cooperation will help them achieve common goals of containing gambling addiction, combating international crime, & protecting players.

Janssen added that the signing of this agreement "includes the basis for the seamless exchange of common info”.

What is the reason for this cooperation?

The EU Commission stresses the importance of upholding the principles of free trade. However, gambling is not an ordinary business as it is associated with many legislative challenges such as gambling addiction, organized crime, electronic fraud, money laundering, prohibited involvement of minors, and others.

Despite the dire need for a strong law to regulate the industry, the Netherlands preferred not to legalize online gambling for two decades! But what happened is that, for twenty years, the Dutch have been gambling online on unlicensed sites without the government getting any taxes! For more details just CLICK HERE!

Therefore, the government decided to eliminate the grey market and contain the online gambling companies with a fair law that responds to all parties' needs. In addition, the KSA has set clear standards that operators have to meet, namely:

  • Having headquarters in the Netherlands.
  • Use approved protection protocols.
  • Pay the required taxes, levies, and fees.
  • Banning minor players.
  • Ban any user on the money laundering blacklists.
  • Reducing gambling addiction.

Fighting Gambling Addiction

Although fulfilling the first five demands may be relatively easy for casinos, the last point is very challenging! Besides the lack of a technical mechanism for recognizing problem gambling patterns, most vulnerable players do not recognize their addiction.

Therefore, the KSA asked the UKGC to share the basis and framework for the famous self exclusion programme, GamStop. Several weeks later, KSA released its own version, CRUKS!

There are many aspects in which this scheme is similar to its UK counterpart. For example, integration is compulsory for all gambking sites, offers varying exclusion periods, irreversible, and only available for local players.

At the time of writing, 30 sites have registered to the CRUKS programme, which is the total number of licensed gambling sites in the Netherlands. In addition, KSA has warned licensed sites from accepting CRUKS players, as they will be punished by a fine of 500,000 euros!

What will the UKGC gain from this cooperation?

Although the UKGC will “provide” all the info requested by the KSA, it is also a legislative beneficiary as the application of UK legislation in the Netherlands means a crackdown on operators who work outside the legislative framework of the UK but still target the British. In other words, this cooperation allows the UKGC to apply its laws in another country!

Cyprus is a good example of this, as the Cyprus Gaming Commission has aligned its policies to the UKGC plan. As a result, there are many similarities between UKGC and the Cyprus Gaming Commission in the licensing process. Suffice it to say that both committees share a blacklist of sites and block the same sites. Therefore, an operator that intends to breach one of the licensing standards should think twice because they will lose their three commission licenses and be banned by the UKGC, the Cyprus commission and KSA and will lose at least 50% of the total European market or more!

To fund non-profit organizations and reduce the problem gambling, all the three committees require gambling companies to pay 1% - 2% of their profits to fund social responsibility activities, including charities that run GamStop and CRUCKS.

Indeed, KSA is aware of these points, so Rene Janssen said, “All gambling sites know that this cooperation is done on an international level. Therefore, they have to abide by common standards”.

KSA alignments with other licensors

Although the Dutch Parliament planned to launch the KSA committee in 2020, the spread of the Coronavirus impeded the implementation of this plan. However, this delay allowed the Committee to expand its agreements with counterpart licensors. Besides the UKGC, the Commission has made partnerships with the French Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), the Belgian Gambling Commission (BGC), the Swedish Gambling Inspectorate Spelinspektionen and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

Although each committee applies its own local laws, there is no disagreement over the general outlines. So, the alliance is always possible. In addition, the EU Commission has advised all regulators to work together to harmonize legislative standards and practices.

What is the future of the virtual gambling industry in the Netherlands?

For online casinos and sports betting sites, the Netherlands is like the USA represents a new market and a fertile ground for growth, access to a new base of players, and creating more income streams. Although the Netherlands license terms are strict, it is not a dealership for most credible companies.