Remote Gambling Act amendments delayed again in Netherlands
May 6, 2020
The official Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) initially stated that they would accept online applications from operators once the enactment from the RGA had taken place. However, delays created by a review of secondary licensing conditions, like IP blocking and age verification requirements, necessitated more time.
Applications, which take approximately 6 months to be ratified, will only be accepted from January 2021. Minister of Justice and Security, Sander Dekker, stated:
“We see that society is digitizing even further and that more than half a million Dutch citizens are currently playing online games of chance without protection. This entails major risks of gambling addiction and fraud. I’m happy that we will be able to ensure that what is on offer is safe, so online games of chance can be played responsibly.”
Dekker has recommended that the KSA, and its related media counterparts bolster monitoring of Dutch licensed entities, immediately after the law has come into effect.
The Nederlandse Loterij’s Toto Sports Betting product caused concern in 2018, when they were found to be without a functional age verification system in place, which allowed for easy access to underaged gamblers.
The Toto has since upgraded its age restriction processes and the government has made a functional age-verification system compulsory for all online gambling sites. Failure to comply would not only incur the rejection of their gaming license application but would also attract the full weight of the KSA’s enforcement processes. As such, the government would rather create a robust and strict regulatory system, than encourage the increase in operators who have lax policies.
In response to some legislators calling for a complete ban on all online gambling advertising, Dekker responded:
“restricting gambling advertising is…not in itself an objective of the current Dutch gaming policy”
New amendments ask for more marketing protections for users. It outlines when advertisements can be played and supports the lack of celebrity endorsements for such services, to protect younger audiences from engaging with gambling online. New rules related to gambling addiction options for at-risk populations will also be investigated.
The National lockdown has shut down all physical gambling venues nationwide, has left a vacuum in the market, but it has also led to a delay in the legislation of online gaming. This hasn’t prevented other international online gambling sites from offering their services to Dutch customers without a license, however.
The lockdown has highlighted the vital need for virtual entertainment. Technology has offered us the opportunity to explore more contactless options and has encouraged the growth of many online services. Should lack of clarity around the restriction of online gambling activities in the Netherlands continue, this could result in the diversion of local funds into the unregulated international market.