The Netherlands Gambling Authority already has a number of administrative instruments at its disposal under the current statutory regime. These include the imposition of fines. The expansion of the Betting and Gaming Act will convey additional powers. In future, the Netherlands Gambling Authority will be able to issue binding instructions compelling payment service providers, marketing companies and other facility services to cease offering services to unlicensed betting and gaming operators. It will also be possible to compel app stores to prohibit apps that can be used for betting and gaming. As things stand, payment service providers and app stores occasionally offer cooperation to this end already, albeit on a voluntary basis.
Dutch legislation may soon be the strictest in Europe with regard to the prevention of gambling addiction. In the near future, licensed operators of risky games of chance will be required to contribute to an as-yet-to-be-established Addiction Prevention Fund. While the specifics of this fund have yet to be determined, the money will in any case be used to support anonymous treatment, research and a future national betting and gaming service point. A Central Exclusion Register will be created as well. All licensed betting and gaming operators must be affiliated with this register, in which players can be registered – either voluntarily or involuntarily – so that they are precluded from betting and gaming for a specified period of time. In addition, a Control Database will also be established. This will provide the Netherlands Gambling Authority with access to digital data on betting and gaming operators in order to assess (among other things) whether those operators are in compliance with the applicable conditions pertaining to addiction prevention.
No, not entirely. While the Bill does set out a number of conditions, it also specifies that 'further rules (governmental decree) shall be laid down by or pursuant to an order in council'. Now that the Bill has been approved, the Minister for Legal Protection (who is responsible for government policy regarding games of chance) will draft an order in council and a ministerial regulation. Based on these documents, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (which is responsible for implementing government policy regarding games of chance) will establish licensing conditions and set out the licensing procedure (also see the infographic). It is, however, clear that:
the applicant must have their registered office in the European Union or the European Economic Area. If this is not the case, the applicant must open an office within the Netherlands, EU or EEA;
an operator must have an available representative in the Netherlands, and this individual must be an expert in the area of gambling addiction and addiction prevention;
all applicants will undergo integrity assessments (under the provisions of the Public Administration [Probity Screening] Act);
the processing fee for a licence application is expected to be €40,000 (see page 7.3, Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill).
No. There will be what is referred to as an open system. Any business that feels it meets the licensing conditions is free to submit an application. It is not necessary for a company to currently be an operator of online games of chance in order to be eligible for a licence. The Netherlands Gambling Authority will issue the licences. When it will be possible to submit an application is not yet known at this time.
No, it is still too early to make any announcements about that. The licensing procedure itself must be properly set out first. In addition, some tasks in the implementation process have fixed terms. Examples of this are mandatory European notification and tendering. Once more is known about the further course of events, the Netherlands Gambling Authority will make an announcement via its website, Twitter account (@Ksa_Nederland) and other social media. The Netherlands Gambling Authority newsletter will devote attention to all official moments. The application form will first be presented for consultation. In the meantime, those who are interested may register by submitting an interest form. They will then receive updates on developments concerning the licence application. Submission of an interest form is entirely free from obligation.
In any case, the Netherlands Gambling Authority will publish a list of licensed betting and gambling operators on its website. Betting and gaming operators will also be required to provide a clear reference to their licensed status, such as a link to the list on the Netherlands Gambling Authority's website. The Netherlands Gambling Authority is also exploring the possibility of a logo that can be displayed by licensed operators. Such logos are already in use in various other countries.
This issue was addressed during discussions of the Bill in the Senate. Minister Dekker stated that betting and gaming operators who wish to obtain a licence must demonstrate a pattern of good conduct. Illegal operators who continue to actively target the Dutch market (such as through the use of a Dutch domain name and/or iDeal, or via advertising aimed at the Netherlands) will be denied. Applicants that actively offered illegal services in the past may alleviate doubts with regard to their integrity by demonstrating good conduct during a 'cooling-off' period. Further details are included in the letter submitted by the Minister to the Senate on 8 February 2019. It is not known at this time how specific aspects of the licensing procedure are going to be arranged.
Aside from the one-off fee of €45,000 for filing a licence application, betting and gambling operators should be aware of the structural obligates concerning tax on games of chance (via the Tax and Customs Administration) and the levy on games of chance (via the Netherlands Gambling Authority). They must also be able to provide financial guarantees. Preparing to offer online betting and gaming services in the Netherlands will naturally entail certain development costs as well.