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Going Dutch: Assessing the Opportunity for Affiliates

Online gambling (or iGaming as it is commonly called in the country) is legal in the Netherlands as of 1 October 2021. But what does this mean for sports betting and casino affiliates?

Citizens as young as 18 can now bet online in the Netherlands, but the country is being very demanding of operators in regards to guarding against gambling addiction and illegal activities such as money laundering. 

Stringent regulations should make the market in the Netherlands one of the safest in Europe. It could also be one of the most profitable for affiliate marketing. 

One industry study estimates that the online sports betting market alone could be as large as $1.2 billion Euros annually.

iGaming Operators in The Netherlands

There have been ten licenses issued for the Dutch iGaming market to date including: 

  1. BetEnt
  2. Bingoal
  3. FPO Netherlands BV
  4. Holland Casino
  5. TOTO Online BV
  6. Bet365 (Hillside Plc)
  7. GGPoker (NSUS Malta Limited)
  8. LiveScore
  9. Play North Ltd
  10. Tombola

BetEnt, Bingoal, FPO, Holland Casino, and TOTO (a subsidiary of the national lottery), are all based in the country. The final five operators (Bet365, GGPoker, LiveScore, Play North, and Tombola) are foreign companies.

The regulator has said that more licenses will be announced over the coming months and that it will be the middle of next year before the market takes shape proper.

It may be easier for affiliates within the Netherlands to forge relationships with the national operators, as opposed to the others, some of whom are based out of former Eastern European Bloc nations where communication and legal contracts may be more difficult to undertake or enforce.

Under the Remote Gambling Act, the Netherlands’ Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is charged with monitoring and regulating operators and affiliate programming in the Netherlands. 

The organization has already made news by fining or taking down websites that advertised online sports betting prior to the 1 October launch date. 

Marketers for sportsbooks, sportsbook operators, and iGaming affiliates should be aware of the laws in the country and be sure to follow them, or risk facing penalties.

The KSA has announced that affiliates must focus on four factors to be good members of the iGaming industry in the Netherlands:

  • Reliability
  • Expertise
  • Continuity
  • Addiction prevention

To that end, online betting affiliate marketers in the Netherlands will be required to fulfill these obligations:

  • Exhibit the ability to provide reliable and accurate information about the industry and offers from sportsbooks and casinos.
  • Show that they are committed to being in the industry, to trigger confidence in the end consumer.
  • Display 18+ and Gamble Aware logos and provide links to Gambling Addiction resources.
  • Utilize properly constructed banners from official licensees:
    • This would include dedicating at least 15% of the banner space to messages about responsible gambling, having all affiliate ads marked as such in the banners, and avoiding banned keywords and images in banner ads.
  • Clearly display “New Customers Only” language for sign-up bonuses.
  • Display and explain all significant bonus terms and conditions.
  • Affiliates will have to undergo clearance from authorities before launching an affiliate program. This may include a background check or verification of operations that adhere to all guidelines of the KSA.
  • Affiliates may only partner with a licensed casino or sportsbook.

While these rules may be more stringent than in other markets, they will help set the foundation for a successful and most importantly sustainable industry and that should be welcomed by affiliates.