Dutch minister orders clampdown on unlicensed operators

The Dutch online gambling market launches on October 1.
The Dutch online gambling market launches on October 1.

Sander Dekker, minister of legal protection, has told parliament there will be a significant clampdown.

The Netherlands.- Sander Dekker, the Netherlands’ minister of legal protection, has told the country’s parliament that he has ordered a major clampdown on unlicensed operators that are not currently being pursued by authorities.

Licensees approved to operate on the Netherlands’ new online gambling market are due to be announced imminently ahead of the market’s launch on October 1. As such, Dekker said he has told the national regulator De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) to draw up plans for “an intensification of enforcement”.

He said that with a cooling-off period coming to an end, the KSA should no longer tolerate unlicensed operators who offer games to Dutch players regardless of whether they have Dutch language sites or domains. He said unlicensed providers would have to block their websites in the country or risk prosecution.

He wrote: “I want the channelling of Dutch players towards the legal offering. That’s why I want to prevent players from getting the opportunity offered to continue to play with illegal providers on a large scale. I have requested that the KSA establish principles for a step-by-step intensification of enforcement in its policy.”

One suggestion is that the KSA may warn gambling groups that they could be excluded from the licence application process altogether if they continue letting Dutch residents access their sites.

Certain operators, including Unibet and Betfair, have not yet been allowed to apply for Dutch licences because they were found to have been illegally active on the Dutch market in past years. They will be able to apply for licences no earlier than April 1, 2022.

New reporting regulations for online gaming

The KSA has published new reporting regulations for the online gambling market. The rules, which build on previously announced reporting requirements, give licensees 72 hours to report serious incidents that could negatively impact trust in the sector.

Such incidents could include fraud, data breaches and major payment problems, it said. Licensees will have to provide the facts and circumstances, details of measures taken to limit or repair the damage, and the measures taken to prevent a recurrence.

Operators must also immediately inform the KSA’s board of any significant changes regarding direct and indirect stakeholders, policymakers and directors, and any changes in payment instruments, payment service providers, outsourcing of operations and data control.

See also: Dutch regulator and media watchdog sign gambling ad protocol

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