The Netherlands has spent a number of years formulating and debating their Remote Gaming Bill which is expected to open the country to international iGaming operators. The bill received approval from the House of Representatives but has stagnated in the upper house of the main legislative assembly in the Netherlands.
The Remote Gaming Bill is expected to see progress this week as a letter sent by the Minister for Legal Protection clarifies to the upper house that legislators have managed to reach a consensus on the bill.
DGA Strict Stance Delayed Remote Gambling Bill
Netherlands has always been home to a variety of gambling products and services, including a number of national lotteries such as the Staatsloterij, which is one of the world’s oldest lotteries. In 2012, a new team called the Dutch Gambling Authority (DGA) was established to become the ultimate protector of the Dutch against illicit gambling and misleading gambling advertisements. Since then, protecting the Dutch gambler has been on the forefront of the country’s gambling regulator, which has delayed the crafting of a more modern Remote Gaming Bill.
People protection is something that many governments all over the world prioritize when it comes to the gambling industry. In Netherlands, one of the most recent and controversial efforts of the DGA includes the ban of using the .nl extension to direct players to a .com website. The DGA also banned the use of Dutch symbols such as tulips and windmills to promote gambling.
Netherlands Ready To Welcome Foreign iGaming Operators
The very first Remote Gaming Bill was brought to the table back in 2014. It then took the bill another two years to finally gain ground and be passed by the lower house. When the Remote Gaming Bill was passed by the House of Representatives in 2016, it opened the hopes for international operators to finally offer legal and regulated casino games, poker, and sports betting to Dutch nationals.
Since the government recognizes that hundreds of citizens were already engaged in unregulated online gambling, the bill would add a protective layer through its monitoring system, which sets strict requirements on providers of games of chance and requirements to further safeguard players from gambling addiction. With already strict anti-gambling addiction regulations in place, many believe that the Netherlands is now ready to open their country to foreign iGaming operators.
Key Issues To Settle
The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security recently announced that they had thrown their support behind the bill and this was conveyed by Sander Dekker, Minister for Legal Protection and second in command in the Justice and Security ministry.
Based on his letter to the Dutch parliament, there are three key areas to focus on regarding the Remote Gaming Bill: separation of games of chance and skill, provisions for off-shore operators, and establishing the framework of online gambling operations.
Regarding the games that will be offered by iGaming operators, Dekker highlights the blurring boundary between online games and online gambling, which makes younger people susceptible to stumbling upon gambling sites. To safeguard vulnerable and problem gamblers, the government wants to create a stricter divide between games of skill and games of chance, and to minimize advertising activities that could take advantage of this vulnerable segment.
Foreign Operators Must Have Physical Presence In The Netherlands
One of the biggest areas that have halted the Remote Gaming Bill is the provision that tackles international operators. According to Dekker, the government has agreed that operators, who want to offer gambling services in the Netherlands but are located outside of the EU/EEA, will be required to have a physical presence in Netherlands to be able to offer gaming services. iGaming operators based in one of the EU/EEA member countries don’t need to construct a local headquarters. They are required to assign a Dutch addiction prevention representative, instead.
According to Dekker, this provision is necessary to make sure that the operators strictly adhere to the government’s efforts to protect problem gamblers and curtail gambling addiction. He says that if operators are closer to or inside Netherlands, they are closer to the Dutch health care system, making efforts to cooperate easier.
The Remote Gaming Bill Could Pass By July 2019
Many believe that the settlement of the provision that outlines the need for a physical presence inside Netherlands and ensure the protection of Dutch citizens from gambling addiction is the final hurdle that the government had to address to move the Remote Gaming Bill forward.
The upper house will review the bill this week and according to Dennis van Breemen, one of the officials from the Ministry of Security and Justice, if everything goes smoothly, the Netherlands can see the Remote Gaming Bill passed as early as July 2019.
 

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