On 19 February 2019, the Dutch government approved its long-awaited gambling bill that will create a regulatory framework for the opening of the online gambling market in the Netherlands. The bill, which was first submitted to the lower house of the Dutch parliament back in 2014, provides for the introduction of a licensing regime for online gambling in the Netherlands that will allow private operators to obtain a local licence. The Netherlands will finally become a regulated market.
The government also published a number of secondary motions which, among other things, contemplate the introduction of a two-year blackout period for operators that have been “directly” targeting the Dutch market. Naturally, this particular motion has caught the attention of interested stakeholders and media outlets but amid all the speculation it remains unclear how this will be implemented in practice.
The date of entry into force will be determined by means of a royal decree, although implementation of a licensing regime will not likely emerge for some time. Nonetheless, it is most certainly welcome news to those that have been watching the Dutch online gambling market with abated breath over the last decade.