Poker players in the Netherlands faced unforeseen difficulties following an unexpected decision by their country’s government. Under the new rules, most of the major online poker operators will have to temporarily leave the Dutch market in the coming days.
At the moment, it is known that ten operators have already received licenses, which will start operating on October 1. Everyone else will be banned from entering the Netherlands from Friday. The names of the licensed companies have not been released, but most (if not all) of the major operators will likely have to leave the Netherlands.
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Initially, it was assumed that operators would be able to continue operating in the country until they were licensed. But Dutch regulator KSA has ruled that all unlicensed operators must temporarily suspend all operations pending licensing. Initially, the deadline for operators was set at November 1, but the last decision was postponed to October 1, 2021. In the past, KSA has imposed fines on most major operators for violating certain criteria, such as using local payment systems, maintaining a website in Dutch, etc.
The parent companies of PokerStars, partypoker, Unibet and many others have had to pay fines for violating these terms. However, it was believed that operators who did not violate the KSA criteria would be able to continue working until they received a license. For example, GGPoker, Run it Once and possibly 888poker haven’t been fined yet.
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But the latest decision by the Dutch regulator turned everything upside down, introducing restrictions even for “clean” unlicensed operators. KSA is expected to announce a list of licensed companies in the near future, but major operators such as PokerStars and Unibet will not be among them. Most likely, they will receive a license no earlier than the second quarter of 2022.
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