A second European gambling group decided to cease operations in the Netherlands prior to the official launch of the market for licensed operators.
Further Clarification Needed
Malta-based Kindred Group announced yesterday that its operations in the Netherlands would cease on a temporary basis with immediate effect due to the official launch of the market for licensed operators on October 1, 2021, and the need to seek further clarification from the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection and the gambling regulator.
Kindred outlined in the announcement the decision was taken due to recent policy changes in the country communicated to the industry in a letter from Minister Sander Dekker on September 20, 2021. However, as the letter did not explicitly require operators to cease servicing Dutch residents as long as they meet the prioritization criteria from 2109, Kindred will refer to the Government and the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) for clarification on their intention.
The opening of the online gambling market in the Netherlands is a very positive step for all involved. We look forward to receiving our Dutch license during 2022, and thereby positively contribute to the Dutch society as a valued expert in achieving a sustainable gambling market.”
Henrik Tjärnström, CEO, Kindred Group
License Application Incoming
Further, Kindred outlined that the group has been actively preparing for the licensing process in the Netherlands under the Remote Gambling Act. Having successfully passed all required audits and in accordance with the applicable regulatory timeframe, Kindred is expecting to submit its license application during the fourth business quarter.
“We have always put a safe gambling environment at the very core of our strategy and operations, and already now comply as much as possible with all Dutch license requirements. We remain fully dedicated to consumer protection, preventing addiction and combatting fraud and crime. An important part of this is our ambition to reach zero per cent revenue from harmful gambling by 2023,” added Tjärnström.
The group is determined to resume services for Dutch customers as soon as a license for the newly-regulated market is obtained from the KSA. In the meantime, the decision to temporarily cease operations in the country is expected to adversely affect Kindred Group’s forecasted EBITDA with approximately £12 million ($16.2 million) per month before any mitigation actions.
In the Competitor’s Footsteps
Kindred Group is the second-largest gambling company that decided against the continuation of its operations in the Netherlands, albeit on a temporary basis only, prior to the official launch of the newly regulated market.
By the end of August, it became clear that Flutter Entertainment decided to withdraw its Betfair brand from the country and announced the last day of operation would be September 30, 2021. Unlike Kindred, Flutter is not planning on resuming Betfair services towards locals and instead, will apply for an online poker license for PokerStars and continue only with online poker in the country.
In the most recent development, the KSA awarded ten online gambling licenses to authorize five local companies, among which are Holland Casino and TOTO Online BV, and five international operators, including bet365, GGPoker and Livescore to officially offer their products and services to Dutch customers.