The Kindred Group has confirmed that it has immediately ceased services towards Dutch citizens on a temporary basis, following previous suggestions that it would not block consumers within the country from accessing its products.
However, the online gambling group reaffirms its stance that a letter issued by Minister Sander Dekker “does not explicitly request operators to cease services towards Dutch citizens as long as the prioritisation criteria published in 2019 are followed”.
The company previously underlined that it had been compliant with all cooling-off provisions, including hosting no .nl or Dutch language websites as well ceasing all local marketing and its Dutch payment capacities during its evaluation period, noting that “we are not actively targeting Dutch customers”.
The aforementioned letter issued by Dekker stated: “The importance of a sufficiently attractive offer for canalisation is of primary importance to me. With this long-term goal in mind, providers who have offered illegal online games of chance are offered a chance to obtain a Dutch licence, if they have not actively focused on the Dutch market for a so-called ‘cooling-off period’.
“To elaborate on this call in the Postema motion, the Ksa published a policy rule in 2019 for the criteria of licensing. Although these parties are entitled to a licence on the basis of this policy rule, this does not exempt them from enforcement.”
The firm says it will now seek further clarification on the intention of the Dutch government and the regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, with a negative impact of £12m per month on group EBITDA expected as long as the services are halted.
Kindred, which voiced an ambition of being “a sustainable operator in the Netherlands contributing to the Dutch society,” will apply for a licence in the fourth quarter of the year, in accordance with the regulatory timeframe.
“The opening of the online gambling market in the Netherlands is a very positive step for all involved,” stated Henrik Tjärnström, CEO Kindred Group.
“We look forward to receiving our Dutch license during 2022, and thereby positively contribute to the Dutch society as a valued expert in achieving a sustainable gambling market.
“We have always put a safe gambling environment at the very core of our strategy and operations, and already now comply as much as possible with all Dutch license requirements.
“We remain fully dedicated to consumer protection, preventing addiction and combating fraud and crime. An important part of this is our ambition to reach zero per cent revenue from harmful gambling by 2023.”