- René Jansen detailed major changes in the Dutch iGaming landscape, particularly in permit applications
- Licensees are now focused on becoming more competitive and growing their market share
- Jansen reminded licensees to not lose sight of their obligations, especially on duty of care
The Dutch online gambling market is starting to reach a certain degree of maturity, with operators now more focused on improving their competitiveness and increasing their market share, according to René Jansen, Chairman of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the country’s gambling regulator.
KSA Observes Drop in New License Applications
In a recent blog published on the KSA website (in Dutch), Jansen described how the Dutch online gambling landscape has changed since the regulated market opened in 2021 under the KOA Act. Major shifts have been observed in permit applications, with Jansen noting a “sharp decline” in the number of new applications in 2023.
Jansen shared that license applications peaked in April 2021, months before the launch of the KOA regime, and in April 2022 when the country’s leniency program was about to end. All applications within that period have been fully processed, with one in three applicants successfully obtaining permits.
This year, the KSA has seen a significant drop in the number of new license applications and the regulator is anticipating a similar development in 2024. But the lack of new growth does not necessarily mean the gambling market is struggling.
According to Jansen, such developments are driven by “larger changes” that operators aim to implement. These changes mainly relate to acquisitions and the expansion of the permitted range of games.
Observing recent trends, Jansen noted that small operators are now merging to strengthen their market position. Larger operators are also taking over smaller licensees to gain a competitive advantage. In some instances, major international operators not licensed in the country are acquiring smaller providers with a license.
According to Jansen, most of these foreign operators previously applied for a license in the Netherlands but their applications did not push through after failing to meet certain criteria, including requirements regarding the control database (CDB). To successfully enter the Dutch market, these operators acquire smaller licensed providers with CDB expertise.
Dutch Licensees Reminded of their Duty of Care Obligations
Such changes indicate that the market is beginning to mature, with online gambling businesses now concentrating their efforts on establishing a foothold and “strengthening their competitive position”. This is a logical development given that the KOA market is still relatively young, Jansen said.
However, he reminded gambling providers to remain compliant and fulfill their key obligations, especially in terms of duty of care. The outgoing KSA chairman said safe playing should remain a top priority for operators as they look to achieve more growth in the years ahead.