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Going Dutch: Insight into the new Regulations for Online Casinos in the Netherlands

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Gone are the days when the Netherlands was a grey market for the online casino industry. With the new regulations finally coming into effect in late 2021, several international players have jumped at the opportunity to compete with former state monopoly holder Holland Casino for the lucrative Dutch market. As we approach the anniversary of the first Dutch online casino licenses, let’s have a look at what the regulation actually entails.

What is the Ksa?

The Ksa or Kansspelautoriteit, is the Netherlands’ governing body for all types of gambling, both land-based and remote. It is an independent administrative body that ensures that the Dutch regulations regarding safe, legal, responsible and fair gaming are followed. 

It states these as its primary objectives. 

  • Protecting consumers.
  • Preventing gambling addiction
  • Combating illegality and criminality.

In addition to those three objectives, the Ksa has four statutory duties:

  • Regulating the gaming market
  • Supervision
  • Promoting addiction prevention
  • Providing education and information

In the Netherlands, the Ksa issues licenses to all legal providers of games of chance. And it is illegal to offer games of chance without the online casino license. This also goes for remote operators, including operators offering slots, platforms for playing live casino, online bookmakers, bingo sites, online lotteries, etc. 

What are the new online casino regulations?

On February 20, 2019, an official change came to the Law on Gaming, the Law on Gambling Tax, and several other laws related to gambling in the Netherlands. In short, both domestic and foreign providers can legally organise remote games of chance in the Netherlands. However, they must apply for a remote gaming license, for which they must submit an application to the Kansspelautoriteit. Of course, they must adhere to the “Wet Kansspelen op Afstand” or “KOA” (Remote Gambling Law). Although the law came about in 2019, it took until October 2021 before we effectively had legal Dutch online casinos. The first being state-owned Holland Casino. The law includes measures for gambling addiction, fair game regulation (such as fair ways to win at online slots) as well as for the taxation of gambling winnings.

The following games fall under the KOA law:

  • Poker
  • Bingo
  • Slot machines such as slot machines
  • Live casino games such as roulette, blackjack or baccarat
  • Sports betting
  • Lotteries

Payment options and restrictions

The law also largely impedes the ability of Dutch players to gamble at online casino sites without a Dutch license. In particular, financial service providers are ordered to block payments between players and what are now “illegal” providers.

In other words, it has been made difficult for Dutch players to still be able to gamble at foreign online casinos. For example, popular casino payment providers Neteller and Skrill have been restricted from performing casino transfers in the Netherlands.

Age restrictions

As has always been the case, players may only participate in online casino games or sports betting from the age of 18. On top of that comes the provision that casino bonuses or other promotions may only be made available from the age of 24.

To confirm age and identity, the licensee may request a copy of an ID, although identity can often be confirmed with a transfer via iDEAL, Klarna, or Trustly.

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To advertise online casino or sports betting in the Netherlands, certain conditions must be met. These include

  • No role models under the age of 25
  • Clearly understandable bonuses
  • Advertising not directed at vulnerable groups
  • No advertising on TV between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

There are of course quite a few more conditions, which you can read in detail on the site of Ksa itself.

Gaming tax

Here, of course, we come to one of the most controversial taxes, the gaming tax. While it is debateable whether a tax on casino winnings is fair, in any case, Dutch players will have to pay tax on casino or sports betting winnings, provided the net monthly winnings are €449 or more. The rate is set at a hefty 29%. Net winnings are calculated on a month’s wagers and wins and the tax is automatically withheld by the gaming provider.

Who has a Casino License?

The Dutch market has already been inundated with a wealth of Dutch, Belgian and international iGaming companies. In particular, former state monopoly holder and land-based giant Holland Casino was the first to acquire a license. Meanwhile local gambling hall operator Jack’s Casino, and was soon to follow. Toto, that used to offer toto bets exclusively in the Netherlands, now also has an online sportsbook. 

Belgian operators Bingoal and Circus already had a Dutch client base before the new regulation, and were quick to capitalize with the new license. 

International players bet365, Kansino (from Play North Limited), 777.nl, and GGPoker were also among the first to receive a license.

Other online casino license holders include Betcity.nl, 711, Flash Casino, and French operator Zbet.

More online casino licensees on the way!

Not all online casinos seeking a license for the Dutch market have already received it. Operators could apply for a license starting 1 April 2021, unless the applicant had a cooldown period imposed by the Ksa. This cooldown period was imposed on operators who had “broken the rules” i.e., offered gambling without a Dutch license. 

While many operators received the license on 1 October 2021 and were able to enter the market, not all license applicants received it at that point in time. Of this first group, some have been rejected by the Ksa and some are still in the running, but need to make adjustments. 

The names of this last group are not public, though many assume that these include Polder Casino and Tonybet. 

In April 2022, the Ksa permitted a second ‘group’ of potential providers to apply for a license. This signalled the end of their cooldown period. This group included, for example, Unibet, which has now received a license and has been on the market since July 2022. Other names that we can expect soon are the Dutch familiars Kroon Casino and Oranje Casino, operated by Betsson, as well as industry giants LeoVegas, PokerStars, 888 and William Hill.

Baltics

In gaming culture, phones are replacing computers: “Charge your dopamine for the whole day in 5 minutes”

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It is common to think that gaming culture and its best experiences are only associated with computers and consoles. However, the gaming environment has changed significantly over the past few years. Once considered quite niche, mobile devices have now become the dominant force in gaming. Games on smartphones now account for more than half (according to Statista, 51%) of the global gaming market revenue.

According to one of Lithuania’s most famous gaming community members and the country’s most popular streamer, Karolis Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), whose broadcasts are followed by more than 130,000 followers on the “Twitch” channel, we are living in a time of transformation.

User engagement and the number of game downloads illustrate that gaming culture is rapidly migrating to phones. Do you think it is starting to catch up with traditional gaming among true enthusiasts?

In the Baltics, events for games with mobile devices are just beginning to be organized, but the number of interested participants and their level of engagement is rapidly growing. Observing this activity, we can assume that gaming culture on phones can not only match but in some cases even surpass the traditional one.

We used to have many various popular consoles and other devices — from “GameBoy” to “PSP.” Now, the experiences they created are also available on phones. Does gaming on a smartphone match the quality of gaming on consoles? How is the gaming community reacting to these technological changes?

Comparing mobile games and gaming on consoles or computers is quite difficult. I would say it’s like comparing a car to a motorcycle. Both move, but one offers more entertainment, excitement, and emotional experiences, while the other offers more practicality.

A similar situation exists with gaming devices. You could say that smartphones have worse graphics or a more superficial gameplay experience, but their simplicity and pace open up a completely different gaming experience. Additionally, they are accessible anywhere and anytime. You don’t have to play only at home.

Currently, true gamers who play on consoles or computers don’t yet consider themselves in the same category as mobile device players. However, I think this attitude will change over time.

At the end of May, you invite your community to meet at the “Brawl Stars” mobile game tournament “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.” Is it true that this is a gaming phenomenon? It is already estimated that “Brawl Stars”

downloads have exceeded 500 million. What is the secret of its popularity? How does this mobile game already have its own e-sports team today?

“Brawl Stars” stands out with its brilliantly designed combination. The game is extremely simple, and its concept is very straightforward. Defeat your opponent, and you will be the best. And the matches are super fast. You can play 3-5 matches in 5 minutes and charge your dopamine for the whole day. This is probably the main secret of the game’s success. Plus, there are various game accessories and special events that are very engaging.

Additionally, these are the reasons why this mobile game has its own e-sports team. It is competitive and easily understandable to a wide audience.

What will make the upcoming tournament of this game different from others?

For the gaming community, this “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” is relevant because it gives us an impression of how many people are engaged in gaming with smart devices. “Brawl Stars” players have a unique opportunity to test themselves against the best players. Participants are also motivated by the impressive prize—a “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”.

In the qualifications and selections, players will play in teams of two, and in the finals, the teams will be changed—the players who make it will be assigned one of the Lithuania’s famous content creators participating in the event. This should add a lot of intrigue and excitement, as it will show how well the best players can communicate with content creators who may not be as good in the game as they are.

More and more gaming-oriented phones are being introduced to the market. For example, the new “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”. How do they help the culture of gaming on phones grow? Can a phone even influence game results?

Just like athletes or racers need the best equipment or gear, a powerful phone gives a player an advantage. The fewer technical issues you have in the game, the faster you can progress.

Meet the most famous gamers

All gaming enthusiasts and professionals will have the opportunity to experience the best gaming moments on May 24-26 in Vilnius at the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States, “Comic Con Baltics powered by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.”

The “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” will take place at the impressive “Galaxy AI” booth. Here, visitors will also meet K. Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), Simas Anužis (“Svarbeuse dariti”), Edvisss, and other famous players in the Baltics. There will be an opportunity to get up close with the most advanced “Samsung” smart devices, discover new opportunities that innovative “Galaxy AI” artificial intelligence features open up for gaming.

At the beginning of this year, “Samsung” was the first to offer its users a smartphone with artificial intelligence features. These change many ways of using and controlling the phone, as well as the habits users have adopted until now. At the event, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with and try out AI features such as “Search by highlighting,” “Photo editing,” “Notes assistance,” “Live translation,” “Chat assistance,” and others.

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Gaming

Dr. Shocker set to prove an ‘electrifying game’ from Galaxsy

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Galaxsys continues to light-up the game’s vertical with the release of its electrifying game, Dr. Shocker, a thrilling action-packed game.

Main Release

Galaxsys, a games studio that creates high-energy games preferred by players who enjoy quick wins and something unique, is gearing up for its next major game release, Dr. Shocker, which will be available on the web and mobile.

”Dr. Shocker’ offers a thrilling, fast-paced experience where players connect electric cables to win. The ”doctor” in question is the game’s central character, who busily tries to connect electrical cables without being ”shocked”. The aim of the game is to win with the highest possible odds, and the electricity running towards the cables is electrifying!

Vigen Safaryan, Chief Product Officer of Galaxsys, commented, “We are always looking to make our games fun, engaging, relevant, and authentic around a central relatable character such as Dr. Shocker. It won’t come as a shock that this game includes all our key player engagement features, such as the Bonus Game, Auto Bet, Buy Bonus and 3 Bonus modes enjoyed by casino players.

This new turbo game not only expands our reach but also enriches the gaming experience for players. It has the potential to become a star in our portfolio, much like Ninja Crash, which recently won the ‘Most Played Game’ award in Latin America. Galaxsys is focused on our commitment to expanding our games, ensuring players always have access to the most exciting gaming experiences.”

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Baltics

The best European gamers will meet in Vilnius: global tournaments and the latest technology presentations

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As Lithuania increasingly finds itself in the spotlight of the global gaming community, country’s gamers can once again rejoice at significant news. Lithuania will host “Trackmania World Tour” stage. With this news, it is planned that 24th to 26th of May, in Vilnius the “Baltics Gaming Expo” will bring together the best gamers from across Europe and the world.

International tournaments and showcase battles

“We love to play, and we’re really good at it at the highest level. This is the second year that the “Baltics Gaming Expo” will gather video game enthusiasts and professionals from all around Europe. If last year, 29,000 participants and visitors came to participate or watch tournaments, explore the latest technologies, and try out newly released games, this year, we expect even bigger growth. After all, we have some special news – the “Trackmania” game tournament at the event is included in the global rankings. In other words, all the best players are coming to Vilnius”, says Šarūnas Tamulis, one of the organizers of the “Baltics Gaming Expo”.

Players from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia, and other countries will participate in the global ranking tournament. Among the participants will be representatives from Lithuania.

The largest gaming and technology event in the Baltic States will also feature “Counter Strike”, “Valorant”, “Rocket League”, “League of Legends”, and other international tournaments.

“There will also be special showcase battles. The best players and streamers in the country will meet on the main stage and compete playing “Counter Strike” and “Valorant”, the organizer says.

From famous streamers’ to retro games

In the gaming community, it’s popular to watch other players remotely broadcast their matches via social networks (game-streaming). Streamers are like opinion leaders, whose popularity and influence grow every day.

“To the delight of our community, the very popular streamer AnnieFuchsia will also attend the event. She has gathered half a million followers on her Twitch channel alone. For those interested, we will create an opportunity to participate in a discussion with the gamer, get answers to significant questions, or even get a photo together”, says Š. Tamulis.

Attendees of the event will also be able to enjoy a space dedicated to exceptional retro games. It will feature dozens of classic arcade games from the 80s and 90s.

“The technology giant “Samsung”, has prepared special activations for the visitors. At the largest “Galaxy AI” stand, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the latest artificial intelligence news and try them out on smart devices. There will also be a special “Brawlstars” tournament at the stand, where well-known content creators and enthusiasts of this game from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia will meet. The winner will receive the latest “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” phone”, the organizer presents.

A weekend for popular culture

The “Baltic Gaming Expo” will take place during “Comic Con Baltics 2024 powered by Samsung,” the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States. From May 24th to 26th, “LITEXPO” will turn into a universe of popular culture.

Fans will have the chance to meet stars from iconic Hollywood projects. Among them are actors from the “Harry Potter” films Natalia Tena and Devon Murray, “Marvel” film actor Sean Gunn, “Highlander” actor Adrian Paul, actress Natasha Halevi, internet comic stars Rob DenBleyker of “Cyanide&Happiness,” “Natural Habitat Shorts,” “Nobody Sausage,” and Nathan W. Pyle, creator of “Strange Planet” comics.

The event will also feature the largest cosplay competition in the Baltic States, premieres of the latest films, presentations, and discussions, an interactive family space, the “Artists’ Alley,” which annually unites around a hundred popular culture artists, a space for vendors offering many curiosities, impressive decorations from the most famous films and series worldwide, and many other attractions.

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