Unexpected Size Of Dutch Market Shows Value of Regulation, Official Says

December 2, 2021
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The Dutch online gambling market is about 40 percent larger than previously thought, underlining the urgent need for regulation, the chair of the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has said.

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The Dutch online gambling market is about 40 percent larger than previously thought, underlining the urgent need for regulation, the chair of the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has said.

Profit warnings from publically-listed gambling operators who were forced to cut off their Dutch customers on October 1 when the legalised market launched after more than a decade of delays suggest online gross gaming revenue for 2021 will probably be about €814m rather than a previous estimate of €580m, according to data released by the Dutch government.

“Should we be shocked that the online gambling market is generating more money than we previously thought?” KSA chair Rene Jansen asked in his periodic blog on the regulator's website.

“For me, it says that the political decision to legalise and regulate online gambling is a wise one and has come none too soon.

“The larger the market, the more reason to protect consumers against the risks associated with games of chance.”

Kindred Group apparently got 52 percent of its EBITDA from the Netherlands prior to October. Betsson got 27 percent, while Entain got 7 percent, the Dutch government said, citing the profit warnings.

As of November 1, the KSA had 33 online gambling applications, 11 of which have been approved, according to a letter to parliament by Sander Dekker, the Dutch minister for legal protection.

Some applications are pending, more are expected in the coming weeks, and the KSA has not revealed how many have been rejected.

Dekker said the Dutch online gambling legalisation seems successful so far, in that there has been no significant evidence of a rise in traffic to unlicensed websites.

Enforcement, however, will be key.

Since 2012, the KSA has issued 37 fines to unlicensed gambling operators totalling €10.2m, and it has collected 55 percent of that total from 20 companies, Dekker said.

The KSA now has the authority to issue binding instructions to payment providers to stop transactions with unlicensed companies, and fines were doubled on November 1.

CRUKS, the nationwide gambling exclusion service, has had rapid take-up. By the same date, 3,500 had registered for the service, with gambling operators making 14.7m inquiries to the database in the first month, Dekker said.

The minister said it was too soon to report on gambling advertising or gambling addiction, but he promised a report in March.

Still, the lower house, called the Tweede Kamer, nevertheless passed a resolution sponsored by members Mirjam Bikker and Michiel van Nispen calling on the government to investigate to what extent minors are being exposed to gambling advertising on television and online.

Separately, the KSA said a random check of 20 slot machine arcades in October and November found that many do not yet meet standards for recording data for addiction prevention, as well as preparing to intervene if necessary.

From April next year, the regulator said it will visit and revisit arcades and “enforcement action can then be taken in the event of violations”.

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