No disruption of service for Dutch online poker players is expected during a transitional period to a regulated online gambling market next year.
Erroneous reports last week indicating that bwin.party and other operators would withdraw from the market ahead of regulation caused concern among some poker players that there would be a “blackout period” as the country gears up for regulation.
Although forty operators earlier in the year were contacted by the Dutch Gambling Authority Kansspelautoriteit to request that they comply with regulations, no withdrawal from the market is required.
Operators were advised to stop targeting the Dutch market directly through localized dot.NL websites and advertising on local TV, radio and print media to ensure they are in good stead when license applications are considered. According to the Gambling Authority, at least 20 have complied with these requests.
International sites on dot.com, however, can continue to provide online gambling services including poker ahead of the regulation. Poker players should be largely unaffected by the transition.
John Shepherd, Head of Corporate Communications at bwin.party, told pokerfuse that they were complying with requests from the Dutch regulator during a “normal transitional period” ahead of the market opening next year.
bwin.party operates the Gibraltar-licensed PartyPoker.com and holds licenses in the regulated countries of France, Italy, Spain and Denmark. It has also positioned itself for both state and federal legislation in the United States.
PokerStars is also no stranger to country-level regulation, and a spokesperson confirmed with pokerfuse that they will “continue to offer PokerStars in the Netherlands” and are in contact with the local authorities “to ensure that our practices adhere to their requirements.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced last month a coalition agreement that includes a commitment to introduce national regulation of online gaming by next year. The new government plans to introduce a gaming tax set at 29% of operators’ gross profits.