Online gamblers in the Netherlands will have to wait a little longer to make legal bets online as the Dutch government has decided to push back the country’s Remote Gambling Act (RGA) to take effect on March 1 2021, with retail venues going live in September 2021.
Sander Dekker, the Netherland’s Minister for Legal Protection, stated in a letter addressed to the Dutch parliament’s lower house that the RGA will take effect two months after the initial schedule.
Dekker said that the delay can help ease pressures felt by all parties involved in trying to get the country’s legal online gambling market off the ground during this difficult time of trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally, the Netherlands expected the RGA to take effect on January 1, 2021. However, two months prior, the country’s gambling regulator, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) decided to push this date to July 1, 2021. In June 2020, Dekker raised the possibility of further delays, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic may make the initial launch date too difficult to carry out.
The KSA stated that the delay was directly ordered by Dekker after conducting multiple dialogues with key stakeholders, including their organization.
One key reason identified by analysts for the delay is the desire of the Dutch government to ensure that their online gambling launch will be supported by CRUKS, the Netherland’s new centralized player self-exclusion registry, covering both online and traditional gambling venues.
Another reason given by the KSA is that the delay would allow the state-owned casino operator Holland Casino to bolster their responsible gambling protocols to comply with the new rules. The Dutch government has already forwarded its revised online gambling plans to the European Commission for their approval.
RGA to Contain New Responsible Gambling Rules
Dekker and the KSA have taken the driver’s seat in shepherding the RGA toward the finish line, introducing amendments that they believe will shore up responsible gambling.
Some of the new rules laid out by the Dutch government include an obligation for licensees to draft a gambling addiction policy, requiring all players to set maximum credit limits on their accounts.
Advertisements and player bonuses are also severely limited by the new regulations. All gambling operators will be prohibited from advertising their services between the hours of 6AM and 9PM. During this time, players will also be blocked from availing of any gambling-related promotions.