Will the Dutch online gambling market be open soon?

On 5 February 2019 the Dutch Senate will discuss the Remote Gambling Bill and the act on the Casino Reform. On 12 February 2019 the Senate will vote to adopt or reject these two bills. This agenda is not final and can be changed, so there is no certainty jet.

Remote Gambling Bill      
The Remote Gambling Bill was already approved by the Dutch Lower House in July 2016 and the Act on the Casino Reform was approved in January 2017. This political process has taken more than 15 years. Due to political discussions the Dutch online gambling market was not regulated until now and therefore all online games of chance are in general illegal. The Remote Gambling Bill regulates online games of chance such as poker, casino games and sports betting.

Fines     
The Netherlands Gambling Authority had (and has) the task to prevent online gambling operators to target the Dutch market. The Netherlands Gambling Authority recently published that in 2018 she fined companies for a sum of 1.7 million euros, which is a record. At the same time research pointed out that there is still a very big part of the Dutch consumers who are taking part in online gambling with foreign operators (over 1.8 million consumers).

Dutch Gambling Permits      
It would be a big and important step for the Dutch gambling industry to finally apply for a permit for online games of chance. But at the same time lots of information and regulation needs to be sorted out before the operators actual can file their application and lots of legal discussions need to take place based on the already revealed legislative framework due to jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice. Just think about the recent obligation Dutch Minister Dekker mentioned: the presence in the Netherlands of operators (by an appointed (legal) person) to get a permit and the question if this is allowed according to European law. So even when the Senate approve these bills, it will take some time to actual get an irrevocable permit.

Advice     
Our office is working in the Dutch and international gambling market for more than two decades now. We have followed the legislation process from the beginning and assisted national and international operators to be ready when the legislation will be in place. Please do not hesitate if you seek more information or advice on this topic. We are more than willing to help you. In the meantime we will keep a close eye on the Dutch senate.

ICE London            
Our Gaming & Gambling team will visit ICE Vox and the ICE Exhibition in London next meet. Please let us know if you would like to meet us at ICE.

 

Mr Lars Westhoff LL.M.
Attorney at law