The E400m Dutch market could soon triple in size as senators finally approve a Remote Gambling Act that will bring the grey market into the light from next summer. Although experts warn that the devil in the detail, it is yet to be announced.
Having been sat on by senators for almost three years, the Netherlands has finally passed its Remote Gaming Act – allowing international operators to obtain licences from next summer.
While the all-important licensing framework is yet to be revealed, notwithstanding a 29.1 percent tax rate that already presents an uphill battle for newly-regulated operators, the development ends years of legislative vacuum which the regulator was struggling to enforce.
Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker, who was instrumental in pushing the bill through said “society is digitizing, and more than half a million Dutch people are participating unprotected in online gambling currently. This involves big risks such as gambling addiction and fraud.
“I am happy that we can now offer players a secure system in which games of chance can be played online in a responsible manner.”
Several appendaging motions were debated in the days prior to the final vote. One, proposed by the Socialist Party – that suggested blocking all licence applications from firms active in the market for the past five years – was rejected. However a more modest version was approved which provides for a two-year “cooling off period” during which firms found to have deliberately targeted the black market will not be issued permits.
A motion to ban all gambling ads was also rejected although another motion passed asking the government to look into the merits of doing so. While another motion passed promoting the use of IP and DNS blocking.
Online players in the seven million-strong market have been stuck in limbo since the legislation first entered the House of Representatives in 2014. The lower house succeeded in pushing through a package two years later, however objections in the senate left
the bill languishing for three years until it was finally approved on 18 February.
As many firms have remained active during the vacuum, “it’s hard to say” how damaging the delay has been to the market, said, Willem van Oort, founder of Gamingholland.com and organiser of the 8th Annual GiH Conference to be held this June 5-6 in Amsterdam. Although certainly “the consumer has not been protected.”