KSA to monitor 25 sites to ensure Dutch customers are blocked

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Dutch regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has selected 25 gambling websites to monitor, as part of its new enforcement approach that requires all unlicensed operators to block Dutch customers.

The regulator said it will check whether Dutch players can access any of the 25 sites. If they can, “sanctions will follow”.

These sanctions may apply not only to the operators of the websites but also to third parties such as payment service providers and advertisers who promote the sites.

The monitoring comes after the KSA changed its approach to unlicensed gambling with the launch of the Dutch regulated online market on 1 October. Previously, operators only needed to avoid specifically targeting the Netherlands, now they must block all customers from the country.

As the market opened, a number of major operators announced that they would block Dutch customers. Entain said the move would cost it £5m per month in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), while Kindred said its EBITDA hit would be £12m. Other operators to block Dutch customers included LeoVegas, Betsson, Casumo and 888. However, the KSA noted that many other operators still accept Dutch customers.

The regulator added that now that a legal offering exists, its responsibility is to channel players towards operators with licences.

“The reason for the new policy is that the amended Gambling Act has made it possible to legally offer games of chance via the internet since 1 October,” the KSA said. “At legal providers, participants in games of chance can play in a safe environment, in which there is a reliable game and sufficient attention for gambling addiction. 

“An objective of the law is to ‘channel’ players from illegal to legal providers.”

Currently, only 10 operators are licensed to offer online gambling in the Netherlands.

Bet365, UK-based bingo operator Tombola and Malta- and Estonia-licensed Play North Ltd are among the licensees, alongside Dutch land-based operator Holland Casino NV and state lottery Nederlandse Loterij with its TOTO Online betting brand.

The Janshen Hahnraths Group with FPO Nederland, Italy-based Betent, Belgian brand Bingoal, NSUS Malta, which runs the GGPoker.eu brand and sports media and betting business LiveScore Malta also secured licences.

The KSA had expected to receive up to 40 applications for licences and projected granting 35. However, the regulator announced in April that it had received 28.

Many online brands were unable to receive licences due to the cooling-off period that meant prospective licensees must have refrained from offering online games of chance to Dutch consumers for at least two years.

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