The Dutch central self-exclusion programme, CRUKS, was not in full operation until October 20, nearly three weeks after the opening of the licensed online gambling market, according to a government minister.
The system was tested before October 1, but personal data needed for the registrations was not available before then because legislation enabling the data exchanges did not take effect until that date, minister for legal protection Sander Dekker told parliament this week.
Interim solutions were implemented and problems were finally fixed on October 20, he said.
The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) gave licensees the authority to launch despite adequate CRUKS links because “there was a fear that more Dutch people would gamble at illegal sites if they could not go to legal Dutch providers during the weekend”, Dekker told parliament.
The problems were “very annoying and a setback for all involved”, but the KSA claimed at no point was consumers’ privacy endangered, according to the minister.
KSA chairman Rene Jansen apologised for the start-up problems this week, which delayed some of the ten licensees from launching.
“I am really sorry that it turned out this way and I am of course very aware of my administrative responsibility for these start-up problems,” he wrote in a blog post.
“We have pulled out all the stops to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.”
Between October 2 and October 4, players could gamble legally without having the ability to sign up for the self-exclusion register, but officials judged that risk was lower than the possibility of many players going to unlicensed operators, the minister said.
By October 25, 3,067 players were registered with Cruks, he said.
Separately, Jansen said he had fielded questions on whether ten initial licensees was enough.
The first successful applicants are wide ranging and represent all game types, but “we are not there yet”, he told BNR Nieuwsradio.
Applications are still being processed and others will come as operators’ cooling-off periods expire, the chairman said.
The breadth of the licensed market should be clear by July 2022, he said.
Separately, KSA fines against LeoVegas and its brand Royal Panda for improperly soliciting Dutch residents without a licence were upheld by an administrative law court sitting in The Hague.
Royal Panda was fined €400,000 and LeoVegas €350,000 on October 10, 2019.
The court did not agree with LeoVegas’ argument that the websites’ adherence to prioritisation criterial forbidding use of Dutch symbols such as windmills or use of Dutch language constituted a promise not to be hit with a penalty.
The ruling could be appealed to the Council of State.