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The Netherlands: annual report Gambling Authority – visible enforcement is “Achilles heel”

By Richard van Schaik and Róbin de Wit

Yesterday, the Dutch Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, “KSA”) published its 2016 annual report. The report provides some facts and figures with respect to 2016, as well as a forecast for the following years. A short overview:

  • The KSA will increase the level of enforcement, as it considers visible enforcement as the “Achilles heel” of a regulator. It confirms that if is fully ready to meet the 80% channeling degree to the legal online offer as envisaged by the Dutch government, meaning that the KSA will actively fight against illegal online operators.
  • The KSA stipulates that despite its efforts, fines imposed are difficult to collect. This is partly because a binding remedy to collect fines imposed on foreign illegal online operators is lacking, but also because offenders are often unable to pay because of debts issues. Despite this, the KSA takes several steps to improve the number of fines actually collected.
  • The KSA confirms its stricter enforcement strategy for the coming period to combat illegal online gambling. This means that the KSA will no longer issue a warning first but will take immediate enforcement measures. Such measures may involve fines of up to EUR 820,000 or 10% of the operator’s turnover. For more information, please read our earlier blog here.
  • It is expected that the KSA will also continue to put up barriers against third party service providers that provide services to illegal operators (such as payment service providers).
  • The KSA expects to grant a totalizator license in Q2 2017. For more information about the background of this procedure, please see our earlier blog here.
  • A number of charity lottery license applications are still being handled over the coming period. More background information can be found here.
  • The KSA will be closely involved in the revised casino regime, whereby Holland Casino will be privatized. Sixteen business locations will be sold and two additional licenses for new locations will be issued. The KSA will be responsible for granting the necessary licenses and will supervise the (feasibility of the) new regime. It is unknown when the new regime will kick off: the bill was adopted by the House of Representatives on 31 January 2017 and will now be handled by the Senate.