The Netherlands: Update Remote Gambling Act

Last week, at the Gaming in Holland conference, chairman René Janssen of the Dutch Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit or “KSA“) and Dennis van Breemen of the Ministry of Justice and Safety (Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid) provided new updates regarding the Dutch Remote Gambling Act (Wet online kansspelen op afstand, “RGA“).

  1. the envisaged timelines for the full implementation of the RGA;
  2. the status of the secondary legislation in relation to the RGA;
  3. the (additional) criteria which future licensees have to fulfill; and
  4. the updated form “I want a remote gambling licence“.

 

We provide you with a brief overview of those topics below.

 

  1. Envisaged timeline

The KSA has revealed its intention to have the RGA enter into force on July 1 2020. At that point, it should be possible to apply for a licence which the KSA then aims to provide within a six-month window up to 1 January 2021, provided that all licensing criteria are met. Actual opening of the market, in this respect is thus expected on 1 January 2021, at the earliest. We note that the KSA has heavily emphasized the fact that it aims for this timeline and that this is in no way a final timeline, as the (secondary) legislation is subject to review by Parliament, notification to the European Commission and advice from the Council of State.

 

  1. Status of secondary legislation

The KSA has explained that the secondary legislation is currently in development. A draft General Administrative Order (Algemene Maatregel van Bestuur, AMvB“) is expected to be sent to parliament before the end of summer. Furthermore, a Ministerial Order (Ministerieel Besluit, “MB“) is scheduled for public consultation at the end of June. We will of course keep you updated of the developments regarding the implementation of the AMvB and MB. We will be following these developments closely.

 

  1. Criteria for future licensees

The KSA discussed some further criteria applicable to future licencees. These are: a) participation in the Central Exclusion Register (“CRUKS“), b) participating in the Control Database (“CDB“), c) fulfilling the requirements to be included in the Duty of Care guideline (Leidraad Zorgplicht), d) meeting certain financial conditions and lastly e) being a reliable operator. We discuss these criteria below in more detail below:

participation in CRUKS is mandatory as this register will be used to exclude players from participating in remote gambling;

  1. the CDB is a catalog, setting out all types of games that an operator offers. The CDB is open to the KSA and enables the KSA to follow operators by means of monitoring the data included in the CDB;
  2. the Duty of Care Guideline contains several measures to prevent gambling addiction. The final version is intended to be published before the summer holidays;
  3. the financial conditions discussed by the KSA are (i) payment of gambling taxes, (ii) transferring gambling levies, (iii) paying a financial contribution to a gambling addiction prevention fund, (iv) licence application fees (EUR 45.000). Next to these financial covenants, operators should take into account that they must be able to provide financial guarantees and have the financial headspace to adjust or install IT systems to adapt to the RGA-system; and
  4. an operator must be reliable. Although not very clear yet, the KSA has indicated that this means, at least, that operators (i) may not breach current laws and regulations, (ii) may be expected to internalize prevailing regulations in the jurisdictions in which they operate or intend to operate, (iii) are financially and operationally sound and (iv) key personnel and key shareholders

Please note that these criteria are all to be further developed in secondary legislation and as such, the above is subject to change.

Furthermore, we note that KSA has indicated that only operators that have not (i) actively targeted the Dutch market for (ii) an unbroken period for at least two years are eligible for a licence. The definition of both terms is to be further clarified. It is expected

 

  1. Updated showing interest form

The KSA has uploaded a new form in which operators that are interested in acquiring a remote gambling licenses can indicate their interest. Please note that this form is more elaborate than the form that was previously posted on the KSA’s site. The KSA asks interested parties to submit this form by 21 June 2019. Please note that this form is geared to those operators that are very concretely exploring applying for a licence. The form can be found here. Of course, we are happy to assist you with this form or advise you on the preparations for the RGA. However, not filling in this form – which form requires much more information to be provided than the previous interest form –  doesn’t prevent operators to apply for a license at a later stage.

Sharif Ibrahim and Richard van Schaik