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NEWS 15 July 2019

Analyst: Dutch cooling off period “last piece of the puzzle” for operators

By Tim Poole

Gaming in Holland Founder Willem van Oort believes the Kansspelautoriteit’s (KSA) cooling off period brings clarity to the Dutch online gaming market, allowing international operators to form a timeline for entering the marketplace.

The Dutch regulator recently introduced rules which state precisely what conditions have to be met for an operator to qualify for an online gaming license, when the first cycle of licensing begins on 1 July 2020.

The most notable criteria is whether a company has operated in the market for the last two years, in which case it has to wait until 24 months after the day it ceased all Dutch operations.

Van Oort told Gambling Insider: "It’s what was expected but at least there’s now complete clarity. They finally came up with these guidelines, which took a long time.

"The debate in the Senate was on 19 February, so after five months, it was about time. There are all sorts of considerations, including political ones."

Van Oort does acknowledge there will be a question mark over exactly who can enter the market and at what point, something he feels could affect the market’s competitiveness.

"It is still a general guesstimate which operators started complying with these rules. So the first phase of the market is quite clear but the second is not," Van Oort explains.

"If we read the KSA wants to let 90 operators in, we aren’t sure which will be part of the first cycle and the second. So, for market competitiveness, it’s difficult to see where your position is. It’s a strange market opening.

"People who behaved bad in the past have a cooling off period, which I think is fair. We just don’t know who will launch when, which is a bit weird."

However, there are clear benefits for international companies, according to the analyst, with operators now receiving the "last piece of the puzzle" for a potential online launch in the Netherlands.

Van Oort says: "Broadly, what these new regulations have done is give international companies a good insight into how they can launch in the Netherlands. They already knew the rules and texts but now they know the when and the how.

"This was the last piece of the puzzle for a lot of operators. Now they can determine when they started complying, so they know when they can start applying for a license and potentially launch.

"The KSA expects to hand out 90 licenses. There were 183 expressions of interest. So international operators can start looking at timelines and the market is taking shape."

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