navigating-the-legal-landscape-for-gambling-in-the-netherlands-2024

Navigating the Legal Landscape for Gambling in the Netherlands 2024

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Access to one of the most profitable online casino and sports betting jurisdictions, where a conservative figure of one in twenty people now wagers online, offers significant opportunity for iGaming operators. 


However, the potential of the newly liberalised Dutch gambling market has not gone unnoticed by iGaming operators seeking an early entry advantage. Thus, the sector is projected to become increasingly competitive over the coming years.


This article provides a comprehensive overview of market conditions, its licensing requirements, and walks you through the process of gaining legal entry in 2024.


The History of Gambling in the Netherlands


Gambling has a colourful history in the Netherlands, dating back to the 14th century when informal and localised games of chance and betting activities were typically played at festivals and other social gatherings among the Dutch population. As with many other European nations of the time, gambling was initially a popular pastime of the affluent, who enjoyed wagers on lotteries and horse racing. As gambling became more prevalent among the general populace, the first steps towards regulation emerged in the mid-nineteenth century to prevent exploitation and addiction.


The Betting and Gambling Act (Wet op de Kansspelen) of 1964 was the first piece of legislation introduced that influenced the modern-day gambling framework. The act aimed to establish tighter control of games of chance through licensing to protect both operators and consumers. Significantly, the act also established state monopolistic control over certain forms of gambling, specifically, lotteries and horse racing. This movement was followed up in 1976 with the creation of the Holland Casino (Zandvoort Casino), which was given exclusive rights to operate casino games in the Netherlands and bring gambling under full state control.


By 2008, the government began to recognise the need to modernise gambling activities and commenced discussions aimed at addressing outdated laws and new challenges faced with the rise of online gambling. This resulted in the drafting of the Remote Gambling Act in 2012, which marked a significant shift towards creating a more regulated and safer gambling environment in line with other European countries. Some years later, the Remote Gambling Act came into force in 2021, opening the market to licensed international online operators.


Here is a timeline of significant events in the Netherlands' gambling history, reflecting the major milestones towards modernisation and regulation.



YEAR EVENT
1964Betting and Gaming Act
1976First Holland casino opens in Zandvoort
1986National Postcode Lottery
1991Casino privatisation proposed
2008Modernisation discussions and proposals
2012First draft of the Remote Gambling Act
2021Enactment of the Remote Gambling Act
2024Full implementation of the Remote Gambling Act


Current Landscape for Gambling in Holland


As of 2024, online betting and gambling in the Netherlands are legal and fully regulated under the Remote Gambling Act of 2021. This act has transformed the industry, which previously operated under a state monopoly, into one that allows private local and overseas operators to provide online betting and casino games to Dutch Nationals. 


To do so, iGaming operators must obtain the necessary licenses from the Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit). Likewise, it is illegal for Dutch players to gamble on unlicensed offshore platforms and operators caught offering gambling services without a license face prosecution and fines.


The full implementation of the Act in 2024 enhances regulation and the licensing process. In modern times, the framework for online gambling in the Netherlands aligns well with broader European standards with a balance of rigorous oversight, licensing, and consumer protection policies backed by penalties for non-compliance.


Operational Compliance Requirements for iGaming Platforms


The regulatory framework for online gambling in the Netherlands is defined by tight regulation with operational compliance requirements aimed at fostering a safe, profitable and fair gaming environment. Key regulations include:


Licensing

Reputable local and international operators must obtain a legal licence from the Kansspelautoriteit in Holland to offer online gambling services to Dutch consumers. This involves a detailed application that demonstrates financial integrity and stability, in addition to a range of other AML and technical compliance standards.


Player Safety Policies and Tools

iGaming Operators must adhere to strict guidelines relating to the implementation of deposit limits, session-time limits, alerts and other such features to promote responsible gambling habits within an online platform


Adherence to AML Policies

Operators are required to implement strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures, conduct due diligence, and report suspicious transactions to prevent financial crime.


Data Protection Compliance

Compliance with various data protection regulations, such as the GDPR in the EU, is mandatory. Operators must implement strong cybersecurity measures to protect player data and ensure that their data handling procedures are transparent. They must furthermore provide users with easy access to their data and request consent for data to be used.


Demonstrate Fair Gaming Practices

Gambling operators are required to have their games and gaming systems regularly audited by independent testing agencies to demonstrate fair gaming practices. These audits involve verifying random number generators (RNGs) to ensure they produce truly random and unbiased outcomes. Such measures extend to examining game algorithms and payout percentages.


Compliance with Advertising and Marketing Regulations

In compliance with post-Remote Gambling Act policies that came into force on July 1st 2023, operators must not produce advertising and marketing materials that align with unethical standards. This means advertising cannot target vulnerable people, especially the young, or misrepresent the chances of winning.


For online operators, staying compliant with these regulations not only aligns with legal mandates but also boosts trust and long-term engagement with players.


Gambling Fees and Taxes in 2024


The process for obtaining and maintaining a gambling licence in the Netherlands involves a number of costs. First, there is an application fee of €48,000, which is non-refundable regardless of whether the application is successful. If granted, licencees must pay an annual renewal fee based on the operator's Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). This levy is currently set at 1.95% and includes costs incurred by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) in regulating the market.


In addition, operators must also account for financial obligations associated with compliance, such as regular audits, implementing responsible gaming measures, data protection protocols, and AML systems. Moreover, ongoing costs necessitate the need to invest in technology and personnel to ensure adherence to regulatory standards.


In terms of taxation, the primary levy imposed on iGaming operators in the Netherlands is the gaming tax, which is set at 30.5% of GGR, effective from 1st January 2024. A de minimis exemption of €449 applies, which means small prizes awarded in games of chance are not subject to gambling tax if they are under €449.


The costs associated with compliance, taxation, and related operational investments must be factored into the business model to assess the viability and potential profitability of entering the competitive Dutch gambling market. Operators entering the market without adequate licencing face fines by the KSA, which could be as high as 4%  of annual turnover or €600,000 for operators with a turnover of less than €15m.


Gambling Regulatory Bodies


In the Netherlands, the KSA (Kansspelautoriteit) regulates all gambling activities to ensure a safe and fair gambling environment. Aside from the KSA, other institutions support the KSA’s efforts by setting gaming policies and administering tax collections.


Ministry of Justice and Security


The Ministry of Justice is the main body responsible for shaping the national policy and the legal framework for gambling in the Netherlands. Ultimately, it oversees the development and enforcement of gambling legislation, working closely with the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) to oversee the implementation of these laws. Its main focus is concerned with maintaining the integrity of gambling within the country by preventing illegal activities, and protecting consumers. This collaborative effort ensures that gambling practices align with national interests and public welfare.


Kansspelautoriteit (KSA)


The primary regulatory body for gambling in the Netherlands is the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), sometimes referred to as the Netherlands Gambling Authority (NGA). Established in 2012, the KSA is an independent administrative authority responsible for supervising and enforcing gambling laws. The KSA's key responsibilities include issuing licenses, monitoring compliance, preventing illegal gambling and addiction, and ensuring that games of chance are offered safely and fairly. Furthermore, the KSA combats financial fraud and other criminal activities associated with gambling.


Dutch Tax Authority (Belastingdienst)


The Dutch Tax Authority (Belastingdienst) plays a central role in the financial regulation of the gambling industry in the Netherlands. It is responsible for the collection of gambling taxes from both operators and players. This includes overseeing the adherence to tax obligations related to gaming revenues and prize winnings. The authority ensures that all fiscal regulations are met, providing a key revenue stream for public services. Furthermore, the Belastingdienst handles the administration of tax submissions and the enforcement of tax compliance helping to maintain sector integrity.


Challenges and Opportunities  in 2024


As we look towards 2024 and beyond, the Dutch gambling market looks set to experience significant growth in the coming years, driven by market liberalisation and a growing online presence in line with broader European market trends. Licenced operators recorded an encouraging Gross Gambling Revenue (GGR) of €1.39bn in 2023, up 28% compared to the previous year, according to the KSAs 6th monitoring report. In support of these findings, figures estimate that approximately 5% of Dutch people gambled online in the same six-month period with 85% of players are now betting with legally licensed operators.


Nonetheless, access to one of the world's top 8 sports betting markets is not without its challenges. Like all profitable gambling jurisdictions, operators must overcome the hurdles of strict compliance mandates, notably in consumer protection, AML policies, and advertising guidelines, which demand a significant initial and ongoing investment. Still, the benefits of market entry are compelling despite these hurdles. Gaining legal entry to this lucrative market facilitates access to a wealthy consumer base with high internet penetration, increasingly receptive to online gambling. Early entry to this newly liberalised gambling market offers the strategic advantage of establishing presence and consumer loyalty, aiding in the development of player trust in this fast-growing jurisdiction. 


How to Apply for a Gambling Licence in Holland


 As an iGaming operator looking to enter the Dutch market, obtaining and maintaining a gambling licence requires diligent preparation and compliance. Here’s a streamlined step-by-step guide to the process in 2024:


INITIAL APPLICATION


Step 1: Assess Eligibility

A significant application fee is required irrespective of whether you are granted a licence or not. For this reason, it is prudent to ensure your business aligns with the strict requirements enforced by the Dutch Gambling Authority. This includes demonstrating financial stability, integrity, and a commitment to responsible gambling.


Step 2: Document Preparation

Compile necessary documents such as proof of identity, business plans, a detailed description of offered games, software and system audits, anti-fraud and anti-money laundering procedures, and policies for responsible gambling.


Step 3: Submit Application

Complete the online application form provided by the Dutch Gambling Authority (KSA). This includes submitting all prepared documentation and paying the required application fee. 


Step 4: Complete Operational Compliance Audit

Once your application is submitted, the authority will conduct a thorough review and audit to ensure your operation complies with Dutch law. This includes checking the fairness of the games, the security of your IT systems, and your company’s financial practices.


Step 5: Approval and Issuance of Licence

If your application meets all criteria, the KSA will issue your gambling licence, which is typically valid for five years.


ONGOING OBLIGATIONS


Step 6: Regular Audits and Reporting:

To Maintain a licence, iGaming operators must conduct thorough auditing and reporting to meet ongoing compliance standards. This involves regular financial reporting, operational audits, and adhering to any changes in gambling legislation.


Step 7: Licence Renewal

Be prepared to apply for licence renewal before your current licence expires, ensuring continued compliance with all updated regulations and standards.


ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS


1. Integration with the Central Register Exclusion of Gambling (CRUKS) is mandatory to manage player self-exclusions effectively.


2. Keep abreast of changes in regulations, particularly those related to consumer protection and anti-money laundering. 


Access or Operators in 2024


Altenar, an Award-winning software provider, has vast experience helping iGaming operators realise their ambitions in the expanding European iGaming market.


Connect with our experts to learn more about conditions for online gambling in the Netherlands and begin your journey towards market leadership in the Country today.


Disclaimer


This information is not intended to be legal advice and is solely extracted from open sources. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice and Altenar does not accept any liability in relation to its use. 



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