In what has become one of the most anticipated additions in European Remote Gaming laws, the Dutch government finalised a framework for remote gaming in 2019 and it is set to go into force in March 2021, leading the way to privately owned Dutch licensed remote gaming casinos. Holland Casino Online was expected to be the first licence holder in 2020, but due to the negative climate, this was delayed, though it looks ever more likely this will happen in March instead. 

There are very high expectations for this new licence, as the Dutch market is seen as an already lucrative market but also as a growing one, which has led to many movements within the industry as both software providers and operators navigate the new framework to be the first in line to acquire licences when they are offered. 

How big is the Dutch market? 

Based on 2018 data, which is the last data set available at the time of writing, including lottery and scratch cards, casino games and sports betting expenditure throughout the year, revenue data amounted to €1.4 billion, which is a nine per cent growth over the previous data set which was taken in 2015. Although difficult to verify due to the nature of the unregulated market, it is estimated that only 10 per cent of the revenue goes through licensed entities, which equates to only €140 million of taxed income for the Dutch Government. Over the last couple of years, the remote gaming industry has had double digit growth, and therefore it is safe to assume that the regulated Dutch market could be worth close to €2 billion, with many believing the casino and sports betting market being worth more than €1 billion on its own. Since the data is recorded through personally reported taxes on income derived from gaming, the market is still officially unknown, but most probably very close to the estimates.

How does this compare to other countries? 

The latest country to do a similar licence was Sweden, whereby just like in the Netherlands the only licence holder was the state owner Holland Casino, in Sweden the only licence holder was the state owned Svenska Spel. 

On January 1, 2019 the Swedish Government implemented new laws that removed the monopoly that was held by Svenska Spel and allowed publicly traded Swedish companies to acquire remote gaming licences. This was a brilliant move from the Swedish government, as it was estimated that 30 per cent of the gambling industry in the country was captured by companies without a Swedish licence. Since the launch of the licence the country has reported increases in remote gaming revenues, which in turn increases the funds to Gaming Authority to better protect the players of the country, monitor the games and regulate a fair market. 

What can we expect when the new law comes into force? 

When applications for licences open on March 1, 2021 many of the large European operators will be applying for a licence and getting ready to begin operating on September 1, 2021. This will put pressure on Holland Casino to relaunch its online portal to retain its market leading status. 

Apart from that, there will be a number of restrictions and instruments launched to protect the Dutch players, most critically the CRUKS, a centralised register that stores all players on it via their government provided social security number. Should a player choose to self-exclude, using CRUKS, they may do so across all licensed operators at once. This, among other rules on Marketing, promotions, KYC and cross operator data collection will make the Dutch remote gaming license one of the strictest licenses in Europe, and precursor to more centralised data collection by gambling authorities. 

Disclaimer: Play responsibly. Players must be over 18. For help visit https://www.gamcare.org.uk/

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