Rene Jansen, chairman of the Dutch gambling regulator, the KSA, describes the significance of a new law that will finally regulate the online sector – and what it will take to turn one of Europe’s final black markets white.
1 April 2021 is the day that everyone at the Gaming Authority has been looking forward to for a long time. The Gaming Authority was also established as a supervisory authority on 1 April 2012 to ensure that the legalisation and regulation of online games of chance run smoothly. At that time, the Remote Gambling Act seemed to be submitted to the Lower House within the foreseeable future and then to be adopted by the entire parliament.
As you know, things turned out differently: it is now exactly nine years later. It took until February 2019 for the Senate to approve the Koa Bill. It then took another two years until the secondary legislation was finalized by law. Certainly the colleagues who have worked at the Gaming Authority from the outset have sometimes doubted whether it would ever happen.
Anyway, today is the day. The Wet Koa is in effect. In concrete terms, this means that applications for a license can be submitted to us for the provision of online games of chance (see also: Koa Act in force tomorrow ).
The legal online market will open on 1 October for companies that manage to obtain a license. I can assure you: you don’t get it just like that. Games of chance are not undisputed in the Netherlands – an important reason for the fact that it took a long time for parliament to approve the legalization of online gambling. The legislator left little to chance. Strict and detailed conditions are imposed on a permit. We have translated these into the process of processing permit applications, which finally starts today.
At moments like this, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it is good to also reflect on what it was all about. In the legalization and regulation of online games of chance, the essential policy goal is to ‘channel’ consumers from illegal to legal providers.
Approximately one million Dutch people gamble – sometimes or more often – with an online provider, according to research. From this you can only conclude that the need is there. That, added to the fact that the supply cannot be stopped – the internet does not stop at the border – has been the reason for the legislator to regulate the market. Only in this way is it possible to protect the consumer against excesses, such as developing a gambling addiction or an unfair game.
The other parts of the law – stricter requirements in the field of addiction prevention and advertising and recruitment – are also based on the principle that consumers who wish to participate in games of chance must be able to do so properly protected. It is also important in this context that the Gaming Authority is given additional powers to take action against the remaining illegal online offer.
The Games of Chance Act of 1964, the legal framework within which the Gaming Authority operated until today, had long had no adequate answer to the issues that are currently at play in the gaming world. With the Koa Act, which is formally an extension of and amendment to the Games of Chance Act, the Gaming Authority can better fulfill its mission of ‘Safe gaming’. Even if you are against games of chance, it is no reason not to arrange it properly. That is now being done.