Big-name gambling companies such as Unibet and Bwin had had their iOS apps removed from the Apple App Store in the Netherlands following pressure from the Dutch gambling authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA).
The Dutch government is preparing legislation to allow companies with Dutch gambling licenses the use of such apps, but until new laws are passed online gambling is only allowed by the state monopoly Holland Casino.
The legislation is currently stuck in the upper house of the Dutch parliament, however, and are not expected to come into force until 2018 at the earliest. The KSA’s actions prevent global gambling firms from entering the Dutch market through the back door in the mean time.
According to the KSA, 55 apps have been removed from the Dutch App Store by Apple following a request made in May. At least 10,000 illegal downloads have been prevented, they claim.
According to the broadcaster NOS, none of the 55 banned apps are available via Google Play (although the Android systems more liberal rules on app providers may mean some Dutch Android users are still able to access the apps).
Perhaps in expectation of the coming liberalisation in Dutch gaming laws, the KSA has been growing increasingly vigilant in its regulatory approach. It’s maximum fine for unauthorised online gambling was recently increased from €100,000 to €150,000, and six penalties have been issued in the previous three years.
British firms Total E Soft Limited and XKL Limited, in particular has felt the KSA’s wrath. They two companies were fined a total of €180,000 fine for operating fourteen casino, sports betting, and casino Dutch language websites featuring several Dutch flags.
With the online gambling only set to grow, and especially considering the expected rapid growth of VR casino experiences, the pressure on the Dutch authorities to legalise online gambling will only grow.