Online gambling in the Netherlands has gone through a number of changes and iterations, coupled with numerous legal challenges both at a local and EU level.

A number of attempts were made to enact the new Remote Gaming Act, but this got stuck in Parliament or at times at the Senate, leading to a situation where online gaming operators are unsure whether to consider Netherlands a grey market or otherwise.

This said, some clarity was provided in 2019 when the Senate passed and thus agreed on the new Remote Gaming Act, effectively making online gambling legal in the Netherlands.  Prior to this Senate clearance, online operators targeting the Netherlands with another EU licence were left in limbo, with legal opinions saying they were authorised to do so by virtue of the EU freedoms, whilst others stating online gambling was illegal in the Netherlands.

Having said so, even though clarity was made on the legality aspect, technically the Dutch authorities still consider it forbidden for any online operator to target the Dutch market directly, by using any symbols or even the Dutch language to make the casino website appealing for Dutch players, unless in possession of a licence issued by the Dutch authorities. This said, to date it is not yet possible to apply and eventually start using a Dutch licence, therefore, this was not entirely good news for the operators.

In the meantime, operators looking at generating revenue from the Dutch market will have to wait till at least October 2021 for the Remote Gaming Act to become effective. Even though this wasn’t the original plan of the Dutch authorities, a number of delays lead to October 2021 being the new target month for when the Netherlands will finally join the other fully regulated jurisdictions for online gambling.

In the Netherlands, the body tasked with regulating, issuing the licences and supervising the sector is the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). The KSA was established in 2012 with the objective to:

  • Protect and inform consumers
  • Prevent illegal and criminal practices
  • Prevent gambling addition

The KSA is governed by an independent board of governors and falls under the Ministry of Justice. Its involvement in advising Government over the years on the drafting of the Wet Koa (the Remote Gambling Act) is considered pivotal for the online gambling industry in the Netherlands. The new act is expected to enter into force on 1 April 2021, but the Dutch market will only open 6 months later, i.e. in October 2021.

Even though Regulations in the Netherlands are not yet in force, unless there are changes in the coming months, only Business to Consumer (B2C) operators will be required to obtain a Dutch licence in order to offer their services in the Netherlands.

Services provided to B2C operators, though not carrying the requirement of a licence, will still be the responsibility of the B2C licensee, who will thus be responsible for ensuring compliance of the whole operation.

Licences issued by the KSA are expected to be valid for five years, unless otherwise specified by the same Authority, with licence holders being obliged to have a control database located in the Netherlands.  In addition, the KSA is expected to mandate operators to appoint an official who would be tasked with the prevention of addiction.  Such representative will be a main point of contact for the KSA.

Under the new regime, online gaming companies are expected to have four different licence types which they would need to apply for, depending on the services provided.

  • Licence to offer casino type games;
  • Licence to offer poker type games (p2p);
  • Licence to offer betting on sports events;
  • Licence to offer bets on horse racing.

In addition, licensed operators will be obliged to connect to a central database managed by the KSA, which will include all self-excluded players. B2C operators will need to query this database prior to accepting bets from players. The system will be called CRUKS, and once a player is self-excluded (or excluded by the operator) from one particular licensee, the system will automatically exclude the same player from all Dutch licensed websites. It is still unclear how this system will be implemented.

NETHERLANDS - Administrative & Licence Fees
With the current plans, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) will start accepting applications from online operators as from April 2021, with the first licences anticipated to be issued six months later, i.e. in October 2021.  The KSA has said that these six months are needed to evaluate the licence applications, making sure operators are in line with the Dutch regulations. A one-time fee of €48,000 will be charged. Once the Remote Gaming Act comes into force, licences approved for the Dutch market will have to pay the remote gambling tax which is set at 29% of the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) generated. In addition, similar to other regulatory bodies, the KSA is planning to charge a separate fee, aimed at covering the expenses related to regulatory supervision. The KSA fee will be based on GGR, with a fee of 1.5% of GGR to cover regulatory supervision, and a mandatory 0.25% of GGR to go for costs related to gambling addiction. In addition, a fee equivalent to 10% of GGR from bets generated on horse betting is also planned to be used to support the same sport.

Summary of Fees:

  • One-time fee on application of €48,000;
  • 29% remote gambling tax on GGR;
  • 1.5% of GGR to cover regulatory supervision;
  • 0.25% of GGR to cover addiction related costs;
  • 10% of GGR from bets placed on horse racing to support the same sport.

At IGA Group, we are committed to providing the best possible service to our clients, by using our wealth of experience and knowledge to maximise the potential of their business. We have years of experience in the gaming sector, both through previous employment with gaming companies, but also through software companies providing technical solutions and also through various consultancy engagements both at a strategic, operational and regulatory level.

Our expertise covers the whole spectrum of operator activities: legal, finance, operations, online gaming regulation, compliance, AML, technical, licensing, corporate, SEO, support, company formation, mergers and acquisitions and more.

Having assisted companies in obtaining gaming licences in Malta, UK, Romania and Curaçao, we pride ourselves for being one of Malta’s most experienced iGaming service providers.