Thursday, July 19, 2018

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Gambling Operators Currently Targeting Dutch Players Could Still Be Eligible for Licenses

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Gambling Operators Currently Targeting Dutch Players Could Still Be Eligible for Licenses

Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker has urged the country’s government to allow operators currently targeting Dutch customers to apply for a license from the local regulator upon the gambling market’s eventual re-regulation and re-organization.

Under the Netherlands’ current regulatory regime, only licensed businesses are allowed to provide gambling services to Dutch customers. However, international operators have actively been targeting local patrons, despite the rules.

The re-regulation of the Dutch gambling market in a manner that would allow for the issuance of licenses to foreign remote gaming and betting companies has long been under consideration by lawmakers, but little progress has been achieved. The Dutch Lower House passed the so-called Remote Gambling Bill in the summer of 2016, but the Senate is yet to cast its vote two years after that original approval. The upper house of the country’s legislature has recently issued a second round of questions on the legislative piece, thus indicating that there might be developments in the re-regulation process after the long period of no actual motion.

Previous debates in the House have suggested that operators currently servicing Dutch players would not be eligible for a license from the local gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, as a punitive measure against their actions. Responding to the second round of questions, Minister Dekker said that the aforementioned approach would affect channelization rates once the process of re-organization is complete.

Channelization Concerns

The Netherlands will be seeking quick and considerable channelization once it re-organizes its online gambling market. Higher channelization rates would mean that customers are better protected from predatory black market operations and that proper responsible gambling controls are implemented.

However, Minister Dekker said he believes punishing erring operators by not allowing them to enter the regulated Dutch market would affect channelization in quite a negative manner. The Legal Protection Minster pointed out that major businesses could still target Dutch customers despite the introduction of a prohibition on unlicensed operations, and Dutch customers could still stick with such businesses, thus neglecting the regulated market.

It is believed that Dutch lawmakers will seek to pass the Remote Gambling Bill and implement the new law by 2019. It is yet to be seen whether that timeframe will be met, particularly given the fact that there clearly is a certain level of disagreement between politicians.

The Dutch gambling re-regulation process finally saw development earlier this year when it became known that lawmakers have finally agreed on a particular provision in the Remote Gambling Bill. Under previous versions of the bill, foreign operators would have been required to set up offices in the country in order to be allowed to operate there. Lawmakers have later on agreed that the physical presence requirement would not apply to EU/EEA-based companies.

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