In what appears to be a major blow to Dutch online poker players and the industry, Sander Dekker, serving as the country’s Minister for Legal Protection, has instructed the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the country’s gaming regulatory board, to enforce new rulings just ten days ahead of the new regulation in the country.
As first reported by Dutch gaming news site CasinoNieuws, under the new ruling unlicensed operators that have been accepting players from the Netherlands will need to cease their operations in the country by November 1—exactly a month after the new regulatory system comes into force.
This means that all big players such as PokerStars, partypoker (Bwin), 888poker and Unibet, that have been operating in a quasi-legal state, will be forced to pull out their operations and will only be able to return once they are fully licensed.
As a result, Dutch online poker players will have to wait for at least six months to be able to play on these rooms as all these operators with the exception of 888 have been fined by KSA for actively targeting Dutch customers and are undergoing a “cooling-off period.” At the earliest, these operators will be able to receive license approvals by Q2 2022.
However, operators that have not served the market may be the biggest benefactor of the latest ruling. GGPoker pulled out from the Netherlands two years ago in anticipation of re-entering the market with a license. Moreover, it has not been fined by the regulator.