Netherlands publishes subordinate gambling regulations

5 March 2020

The Netherlands’ government has published regulations underpinning the measures set out in the Remote Gaming Act, with parliamentarians now able to submit comments on the proposed rules.

The regulations set out in the Remote Gaming Decree establish how operators are expected to conduct business in the Netherlands, and the key conditions they must fulfil in order to secure a licence.

Operators will be eligible for five-year licences, with Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) to make a final decision on applications within six months of their submission.

Licences will cover peer-to-peer casino games (such as poker), casino games where the players bet against the house, sports betting and betting on horse racing, and not online lotteries.

For sports betting, licensees may not offer odds on youth or amateur competitions, or on events that are considered easy to manipulate. Furthermore, the sports on which betting can be offered will be determined by a blacklist, which will include all sports not covered.

As well as the usual boilerplate on applicants’ probity and the need for defined policies to prevent money laundering, uphold sporting integrity and tackle gambling addiction, the regulations state that players must not be permitted to bet using credit.

Company policies for preventing gambling-related crime must be easily accessible to players, while the total costs of participating in all games of chance offered has to be set out in an understandable format.

Gambling advertising, meanwhile, will be subject to a watershed beginning at 9PM. This had originally been set between 7PM and 6AM, before being amended following a suggestion put forward by the House of Representatives in December 2019. For lottery products, the advertising window will remain between 7PM and 6AM.

This was highlighted by Justice Minister Sander Dekker in a letter to the House, in which he warned against tighter restrictions on advertising. These, Dekker said, could have an adverse impact on efforts to channel players towards legal offerings.

The minister also reiterated his belief that the two-year ‘cooling off period’ for operators that had targeted Dutch players without a licence was sufficient punishment but would consider a six-month extension.

In addition, the Remote Gaming Decree also revealed the results of research by Dutch research body Sira Consulting, which suggested that up to 68 companies would be licensed, of which 41 would go to foreign operators. This appears to be a significant drop from the 183 operators that registered their interest in applying, as announced by the KSA in June last year.

From this, according to H2 Gambling Capital, the Dutch state can expect to generate tax revenue of €2.6m in 2021, rising to €8.7m by 2023.

The first full year of legal online gambling, from 1 July 2021 - six months later than originally planned - gross gaming revenue is expected to reach €300m. This will rise to €500m in following years, according to H2’s calculations.