The launch of the Dutch online gambling market has been on everyone’s lips since the country’s government voted to legalise it towards the beginning of this year. With the Remote Gambling Act of the Netherlands set to come into effect from July 1, 2020 and applications for licences expected to be received shortly after, there was certainly a very efficient timescale set in place.
However, it would seem as though perhaps the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) maybe didn’t plan everything out as well as initially thought. In an announcement made last week, a six-month delay to proceedings was spoken of, meaning that if the legislation doesn’t come into effect until January 2021, then the online gaming market launch will also be pushed back by the same time period. Therefore, this can expect to launch on July 1, 2021.
Licence applications cannot be processed until the necessary laws are made official and implemented, but before this is possible, secondary regulations must also be passed, as well as licensing conditions. Information regarding the former was made available in June, while the conditions for obtaining a licence were published earlier this month. However, it’s necessary for these to also be finalised before anything can proceed forward.
Minister for Legal Protection Speaks Out
In an update to the Dutch parliament, the Minister for Legal Protection, Mr Sander Dekker spoke of two other motions that were passed alongside the aforementioned Remote Gaming Act as of February 2019. One of these motions was put forth by a Senator for the Labour Party, André Postema. This requested that the government provide information to the Dutch legislature about its criteria for internet service providers (ISP) in the Netherlands to be able to block access to websites.
The second of the them looked for a ban on the advertisement of iGaming, and it was this motion that was carried over another which sought to enforce more of a blanket ban from the beginning.
Mr Dekker went on to explain that the government had explained that there were two paths that ISPs could take to block access to a website. The first allows them to report sites containing illegal content via a Civil Notice, which would in turn have that site taken down. The second route was to have a site removed because of a Penal Code violation. This option is only usable if the offence merited pre-trial detention.
Shifting his attention to the ban on iGaming advertisement, Dekker spoke of the necessity of advertising to be able to channel players to the legal sites, rather than have them end up using illegal, unlicensed brands. This, he said, would be done through providing players with “attractive offers”, in order to guide them towards the licensed and regulated sites. He spoke of this being the only way for legal operators to get the attention of customers.
“For providers of online gambling, advertising is even more important than for providers of offline games of chance…”, Mr Dekker said. He finished up by saying that blocking gambling advertising “is a serious negative”, and that there is no reason, in his mind, to move forward with such a ban.