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Netherlands clarifies online gambling rules

Mon, Jul 15, 4:26pm by Staff Writer

The Netherlands’ gambling regulator has finally offered some specifics on the ‘time outs’ it plans to impose on operators who served the local market without its permission.

Calvin Ayre reports that when the Dutch legislature passed its Remote Gambling Bill in February, it stipulated that operators who continued to ‘actively’ serve Dutch customers without the regulatory body’s approval would have to served a two year ‘cooling off’ period before becoming eligible for a new Dutch gambling licence.

Last Friday, the KSA released a draft policy rule regarding this cooling off period, which reveals that the two-year period will be backdated from the point that the KSA receives a company’s online licence application.

So if an operator files its application on July 1, 2020 – the expected start of the licencing window – said operator must not have been actively targeting the Dutch market any later than July 1, 2018.

The KSA defines ‘actively’ by a number of criteria, including whether a website used a .nl domain, offered Dutch language services, released ads targeting Dutch customers, used branding or imagery associated with the Netherlands or allowed customers to transact with Dutch payment processors such as iDeal.

The KSA cautioned that this policy will expire on July 1, 2021.

So if an operator was still targeting the Dutch market after July 1, 2019, they will be permanently excluded from applying for a Dutch online licence.

Operators who have catered to Dutch punters in the past have been busy cleaning up their act in preparation for the new online licence derby.

Nordic operators Betsson AB, which has been on the receiving end of the KSA’s disciplinary division, recently rebranded its two Dutch-facing sites in an apparent bit of reputation management.

The KSA also cautioned that operators will also be subject to a broader reliability probe, the full details of which are still being finalised.

That will include a Bibob (probity) screening, as required under Dutch law for any company applying for a licence or bidding on a government contract.

Assuming the licencing window opens as planned in mid-2020, the newly regulated online market is expected to launch on January 1, 2021.

The KSA recently revealed that it had received 183 expressions of interest from online hopefuls, of which 89 were non-Dutch companies.

Liberalisation slower in Holland

The Dutch government was staunch in its opposition of foreign online casinos, vowing to only permit its citizens to access domestic operators.

The Remote Gaming Bill has taken time to move through the Dutch Senate and its regulatory changes are not expected until 2020 at the earliest.

There are many Dutch online casino sites that provide safe and diverse gaming experiences with sites such as SlotsMillion and Spinia offering games from renowned providers like NetEnt.

The Swedish and Dutch governments are seeking to liberalise their market, although at different paces.

UK looking to prohibit and tax

This is in contrast to the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission, which is seeking to restrict usage.

The prohibition of credit card betting has been floated in the first quarter of 2019, while a levy on all gambling companies registered in the UK is being considered.

Online operators in the UK will see a taxation increase from 15 per cent to 21 per cent in April, surpassing the tax level in Sweden.

The UK government is considering a ban on the use of credit cards to gamble with Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright seeking “social responsibility” from all gambling companies as well as the banks.

He will meet with bankers and bookmakers to talk through the problem of players getting into debt using cash they don’t have.

It is thought as much as 20 per cent of online gambling spend is through credit cards.

The move is part of a broader crackdown that will also lead to the government seeking to address slow progress on self-exclusion schemes, which are designed to help addicts opt out of betting.

The UK Gambling Commission has been looking to prohibit or restrict credit card use since 2017 when it published its review of the state of the gambling industry in the country.

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