Due to a last-minute decision from Dutch Legal Protections Minister Sander Dekker, regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has been forced to end its “cooling-off” period for unlicensed operators waiting to join the KOA Regime on October 1st.
Dekker informed the Kamer on Monday that he had asked KSA to stop offering cooling-off rights to illegal operators, and instead to stop all Dutch player services as of October 1.
The ‘cooling period’ was implemented as a pre-market provision in 2019 after ministers agreed on the final framework for the new online gambling system. It allowed unlicensed operators to seek for licences as long as they did not actively target Dutch consumers.
The cooling period was established to ensure that the KOA Regime would debut on an equal footing, with no operator receiving a head start.
Furthermore, KSA stated that its cooling period will aid in the long-term channelisation of the business, as igaming customers would most likely end up playing with future KOA licensees.
Dekker ordered KSA to end its cooling-off period on Monday, adding that operators who are seeking licences should not be free from regulatory enforcement or consequences.
Dekker’s enforcement has been criticised, with some calling it a policy reversal of KOA’s level playing field agreements, in which the removal of the cooling period will benefit the market’s initial domestic entrants.
KSA has yet to determine how Dekker’s orders will be applied to operators awaiting KOA licencing decisions. Furthermore, legal experts have noted that foreign operators will have the ability to appeal the order, citing it as a significant departure from KOA’s licencing arrangements that were in place previous to the market’s inception.