The Dutch Legal Protections Minister, Sander Dekker, has enforced the regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) to terminate its ‘cooling-off’ reprieve for unlicensed operators awaiting to join the KOA Regime from 1 October.
Dekker told the House of Representatives that he had demanded KSA to cease its offer of cooling-off rights to unlicensed operators, who will instead be instructed to refrain from all Dutch player services from 1 October onwards.
The ‘cooling period’ was initially a pre-market provision enacted in 2019 whilst Dutch politicians finalised the framework for the new online gambling regime, allowing unlicensed operators to apply for temporary licenses as long as they backed away from targeting Dutch consumers.
It was applied to ensure that the KOA Regime would launch on a ‘level playing field’, with no operator given a pre-market advantage.
Furthermore, KSA outlined that its cooling period would help the market’s long-term landscape as igaming consumers would likely end up playing with eventual KOA licensees.
This week, Dekker ordered KSA to terminate its cooling period reprieve, stating that operators awaiting licences should not be exempt from regulatory enforcement or sanctions.
The minister’s demand has attracted criticism, as some label it as a policy u-turn of KOA’s level playing field approach.
KSA has yet to interpret how it will apply Dekker’s orders to operators awaiting their KOA licensing outcomes. Furthermore, legal observers have noted that foreign operators will hold a right to challenge the order as a drastic change to KOA’s licensing arrangements that had been observed prior to the market’s launch.