Gone are the days when the Netherlands was a grey market for the online casino industry. With the new regulations finally coming into effect in late 2021, several international players have jumped at the opportunity to compete with former state monopoly holder Holland Casino for the lucrative Dutch market. As we approach the anniversary of the first Dutch online casino licenses, let’s have a look at what the regulation actually entails.
What is the Ksa?
The Ksa or Kansspelautoriteit, is the Netherlands’ governing body for all types of gambling, both land-based and remote. It is an independent administrative body that ensures that the Dutch regulations regarding safe, legal, responsible and fair gaming are followed.
It states these as its primary objectives.
- Protecting consumers.
- Preventing gambling addiction
- Combating illegality and criminality.
In addition to those three objectives, the Ksa has four statutory duties:
- Regulating the gaming market
- Promoting addiction prevention
- Providing education and information
In the Netherlands, the Ksa issues licenses to all legal providers of games of chance. And it is illegal to offer games of chance without the online casino license. This also goes for remote operators, including operators offering slots, platforms for playing live casino, online bookmakers, bingo sites, online lotteries, etc.
What are the new online casino regulations?
On February 20, 2019, an official change came to the Law on Gaming, the Law on Gambling Tax, and several other laws related to gambling in the Netherlands. In short, both domestic and foreign providers can legally organise remote games of chance in the Netherlands. However, they must apply for a remote gaming license, for which they must submit an application to the Kansspelautoriteit. Of course, they must adhere to the “Wet Kansspelen op Afstand” or “KOA” (Remote Gambling Law). Although the law came about in 2019, it took until October 2021 before we effectively had legal Dutch online casinos. The first being state-owned Holland Casino. The law includes measures for gambling addiction, fair game regulation (such as fair ways to win at online slots) as well as for the taxation of gambling winnings.
The following games fall under the KOA law:
- Slot machines such as slot machines
- Live casino games such as roulette, blackjack or baccarat
- Sports betting
Payment options and restrictions
The law also largely impedes the ability of Dutch players to gamble at online casino sites without a Dutch license. In particular, financial service providers are ordered to block payments between players and what are now “illegal” providers.
In other words, it has been made difficult for Dutch players to still be able to gamble at foreign online casinos. For example, popular casino payment providers Neteller and Skrill have been restricted from performing casino transfers in the Netherlands.
As has always been the case, players may only participate in online casino games or sports betting from the age of 18. On top of that comes the provision that casino bonuses or other promotions may only be made available from the age of 24.
To confirm age and identity, the licensee may request a copy of an ID, although identity can often be confirmed with a transfer via iDEAL, Klarna, or Trustly.
To advertise online casino or sports betting in the Netherlands, certain conditions must be met. These include
- No role models under the age of 25
- Clearly understandable bonuses
- Advertising not directed at vulnerable groups
- No advertising on TV between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
There are of course quite a few more conditions, which you can read in detail on the site of Ksa itself.
Here, of course, we come to one of the most controversial taxes, the gaming tax. While it is debateable whether a tax on casino winnings is fair, in any case, Dutch players will have to pay tax on casino or sports betting winnings, provided the net monthly winnings are €449 or more. The rate is set at a hefty 29%. Net winnings are calculated on a month’s wagers and wins and the tax is automatically withheld by the gaming provider.
Who has a Casino License?
The Dutch market has already been inundated with a wealth of Dutch, Belgian and international iGaming companies. In particular, former state monopoly holder and land-based giant Holland Casino was the first to acquire a license. Meanwhile local gambling hall operator Jack’s Casino, and was soon to follow. Toto, that used to offer toto bets exclusively in the Netherlands, now also has an online sportsbook.
Belgian operators Bingoal and Circus already had a Dutch client base before the new regulation, and were quick to capitalize with the new license.
International players bet365, Kansino (from Play North Limited), 777.nl, and GGPoker were also among the first to receive a license.
Other online casino license holders include Betcity.nl, 711, Flash Casino, and French operator Zbet.
More online casino licensees on the way!
Not all online casinos seeking a license for the Dutch market have already received it. Operators could apply for a license starting 1 April 2021, unless the applicant had a cooldown period imposed by the Ksa. This cooldown period was imposed on operators who had “broken the rules” i.e., offered gambling without a Dutch license.
While many operators received the license on 1 October 2021 and were able to enter the market, not all license applicants received it at that point in time. Of this first group, some have been rejected by the Ksa and some are still in the running, but need to make adjustments.
The names of this last group are not public, though many assume that these include Polder Casino and Tonybet.
In April 2022, the Ksa permitted a second ‘group’ of potential providers to apply for a license. This signalled the end of their cooldown period. This group included, for example, Unibet, which has now received a license and has been on the market since July 2022. Other names that we can expect soon are the Dutch familiars Kroon Casino and Oranje Casino, operated by Betsson, as well as industry giants LeoVegas, PokerStars, 888 and William Hill.