Little Interest in Dutch iGaming

A recent survey commissioned by the Netherlands Online Gaming Association (NOGA) and conducted online by Ipsos provides compelling evidence that there is actually less public interest in and awareness of online gambling in the Netherlands as previously thought. The survey arrived in time for the launch of the country’s Remote Gambling Act (KOA) on April 1st.

A typical Dutch city in the nighttime, with a prominent canal on display, flanked by rowhouses and boats.

A survey commission by the Netherlands Online Gaming Association (NOGA) has revealed that there is actually less public interest in and awareness of online gambling in the Netherlands as perhaps initially thought. ©8300/Pixabay

Less Than Half of Respondents Have Only Heard of Online Gambling

A new survey requested by the Netherlands Online Gaming Association (NOGA) and conducted online by Ipsos indicates less awareness of and public interest in online gambling as perhaps was previously thought.

The survey asked 1,004 participants a number of questions concerning online gambling and arrived just in time for the launch of the Netherlands’ Remote Gambling Act (KOA) on April 1st, following a series of repeated delays.

The official launch of the Remote Gambling Act simultaneously opens up an iGaming licensing portal, allowing operators in search of a Dutch iGaming license to apply for one for the next six months.

The official launch of the regulated iGaming market is then set to launch on October 1st, 2021.

The online poll conducted by Ipsos found that just under half of the surveyed respondents, 49% to be exact, revealed that they had only heard of online gambling but did not know much in detail about the market.

An additional 5% said they had never heard of online gambling before, while 31% claimed they felt familiar with online gambling but did not actually partake in it themselves.

Of the surveyed respondents, only 5% said they gambled online on a regular basis. However, this rose to 10% for players who claimed they had gambled online but did not do so on any sort of regular basis.

Lack of Awareness Also Extends to New Legislation

The recent survey commissioned by the Netherlands Online Gaming Association (NOGA) and conducted online by Ipsos likewise found that the lack of familiarity with online gambling in the Netherlands also extends to the recently launched Remote Gambling Act.

When asked what their experience with the Remote Gambling Act was, two thirds of respondents claimed they did not know about the piece of legislation whatsoever, while only 12% described themselves as being “well aware” of the act and the details surrounding it.

The remaining 23% of surveyed respondents said they had heard “something” about the Remote Gambling Act.

Amongst the 108 respondents who identified themselves as gamblers, only 59% revealed that they were aware of the upcoming changes to the iGaming market — further proving that knowledge of the latest regulations is not especially high.

This same 59% of online gamblers said they believed it was important to play through licensed operators, while 9% said they believed it was not. 

The remaining 32% said they had no real opinion one way or another.

Out of those who claimed they were aware of the Remote Gambling Act and any accompanying regulations, 37% viewed the act as a positive development, whereas 14% claimed they were unaware any such major changes were even occurring.

Little Indication the Legal Market Will Attract New Players

Those surveyed as part of Ipsos’ online study who claimed they did not gamble online whatsoever did not provide much indication, if any, that they would suddenly begin doing so when the legal market finally launches in the next half year.

Merely 2% of these respondents expressed some sort of interest in playing online once the legal market opens on October 1st, 2021. This figure, however, was higher amongst younger people, leveling out at 6%.

Interestingly enough, these same respondents nevertheless showed support for many of the limits on advertising that appear in the Remote Gambling Act’s new regulations.

An overwhelming majority, 71% to be exact, said they believed online gambling ads should only air after 9pm in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, 59% expressed the belief that the use of sports figures or online influencers in gambling advertisements would prove to be problematic.

Dutch iGaming Licensing Portal Launches After Short Delay

With the implementation of the Netherlands’ Remote Gambling Act on April 1st, 2021, the portal allowing for operations to apply for licenses was due to open at 8am CET on the same day.

However, yet another delay in the process hit the launch of the licensing portal, with Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) explaining the portal would not be available due to the discovery of another flaw after final tests were conducted.

Thankfully enough, the licensing portal ended up launching that same day but in the afternoon.

Chair of the regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) René Jansen marked the occasion of the April 1st launch of the Remote Gambling Act by taking a moment to reflect on its overall purpose:

“April 1, 2021 is the day that everyone at the Gaming Authority has been looking forward to for a long time. At times like this, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it is good to take a moment to reflect on what it was all about. In the legalization and regulation of online gaming, the essential policy goal is to ‘channel’ consumers from illegal to legal providers.”René Jansen, Chairman, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA)

Celebrations aside, Jansen also took the opportunity to remind that the standards for being granted a license under the new Remote Gambling Act still remain high: 

“The legal online market will open on October 1 for companies that manage to obtain a license”, he explained. “But I can assure you: you don’t get one just like that”.

Remote Gambling Act Had Experienced Delays Over Several Years

The official launch of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act (KOA) finally arrived on April 1st, 2021, with the full launch of the legalized market expected to follow later this year on October 1st, 2021.

Aside from the short technical delay which caused the licensing portal to only launch in the afternoon on April 1st, the Remote Gambling Act had been plagued by delays ranging all the way back to November 2019.

The last delay of this sort arrived as recently as January 2021, when Minister for Legal Protection in the Netherlands Sander Dekker pushed the date the act came into effect to April 1st, 2021.

The reasoning provided here was that the Dutch government had understood that a slower and more gradual implementation of the Remote Gambling Act would result in a stronger regulatory environment for iGaming.

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