Netherlands: Remote Gambling Act goes before the Council of State

Last Friday (14 February), the legislative proposal for the Dutch Remote Gambling Act has been brought before the Dutch Council of State for its opinion. This Act stipulates under which conditions online gambling will be allowed in the Netherlands and amends the current Betting and Gaming Act (Wet op de Kansspelen, hereinafter: “WoK“).

Current status

After the release of the bill (22 May 2013), the so-called internet consultation took place whereby stakeholders were invited to post their comments in order to get a clear sight of the enforceability, of best practices, of room for improvement and of other interests that may be affected. The consultation ended 21 July 2013. After, the input was taken into consideration after which the bill was discussed in the Council of Ministers.

Now it is up to the Council of State to present its opinion. Practice shows that the opinion is often followed and incorporated into the bill. Should the Council of State give a negative advice, the bill will be modified and returned to the Council of Ministers. Subsequently, the (possibly revised) bill will be sent to the House of Representatives for discussion, after which it will be further debated in the Senate.

The text of the bill and the advice of the Council of State will be published on submission with the House of Representatives. The expectation is that the Act will enter into effect on 1 January 2015.

In short: Remote Gambling Act

The Act aims to, amongst other things, regulate remote gambling (online games of chance), adapt the tax arrangements and expand the enforcement instruments of the Games of Chance Authority.

For parties who wish to apply a license to offer online games of chance aimed at the Netherlands, the following is relevant:

  • The applicant should have its principal establishment in (a) the European Union, or (b) in a state appointed by the Minister of Justice as guaranteeing an adequate level of protection of the interests that the WoK aims to serve;
  • The applicant should have an “appropriate” legal status: an equivalent of the Dutch private limited company;
  • A central register for the exclusion of participants to games of chance will be created. The license holder that may offer remote gambling cannot allow the participation of an individual that has no subscription with the license holder. Further, the license holder cannot allow persons (a) under 18, or (b) that have an entry in the central registry for the exclusion of games of chance, (c) that have indicated (at their own initiative) that they have overstepped the borders of their gambling behavior;
  • The tax on games of chance will be differentiated: 29% for land based providers, 20% for remote providers;
  • There will be a levy for exploitation of the license, that will be published by Ministerial Decree;
  • A contribution to Charitable Organizations may become obligatory – this will also be stipulated by Ministerial Decree;
  • All other regulations on restrictions, provisions, duration and assignability of the remote gambling licenses will be stipulated in a (forthcoming) governmental decree.

Furthermore, from the application it should be clear that both the requirement of the WoK are fulfilled, as the requirements from the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (“MLTFA“) are met. Also, the applicant needs to show it soundly manages its organization of the games of chance, in such a way that the supervision on the compliance with both the WoK and MLTFA is warranted. Thereto the applicant is required use appropriate means, processes and procedures. Appointment of a functionary or official in the organization that supervises compliance with the WoK and the MLTFA is required. Lastly, the applicant should be able to vouch for all its personnel. Decision makers in the organization should be reliable and meet the integrity criteria set out in Public Administration (Probity Screening) Act (Wet BiBob).

Should you require any further (detailed) information on the above, please do not hesitate to contact our DLA Gambling Team in the Netherlands – Richard van Schaik (richard.vanschaik@dlapiper.com), Prof. Jan Kabel (jan.kabel@dlapiper.com), and Róbin de Wit (robin.dewit@dlapiper.com).