The Netherlands – Update Remote Gambling Act

Developments surrounding the Remote Gambling Act (‘RGA‘) have not come to a halt since the announcement of the six-months’ delay of the RGA’s entry into force. In a speech at the GIH breakfast event that took place yesterday, chairman of the Dutch Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit or KSA) René Jansen, shed some more light on different topics. A full English transcript of the speech is available here. We attended the briefing and will discuss the most striking points below. Furthermore, motions have been adopted in Dutch Parliament relating to the introduction of the RGA, which we will also discuss below.

Speech René Jansen 

  1. Cooling-off period: the cooling-off period of 2 years (i.e. prospective licensees are not eligible for a licence if they have actively targeted Dutch consumers in the two years prior to applying) is subject to discussion after the six months delay. The KSA and Ministry of Safety and Justice are yet to have discussions on the implications of the delay for the cooling-off period. It is thus not yet certain that the term of the cooling-off period will stay the same. Jansen stressed that the cooling-off period is intended to be far from just a formality.
  2. Age verification: Jansen noted, multiple times, that offering remote gambling without a licence, is and remains illegal. He called upon operators to instate adequate (and visible) age verification measures. In the subsequent panel discussions, the issue whether age verification upon registration or at the time when actual money comes into play would be the more reasonable option. This is particularly relevant for those platforms that also offer free-play functionality, where no actual premiums are awarded but only play money.
  3. Preventive measures against addiction: Jansen noted that the Dutch addiction prevention measures might prove to be the most stringent of Europe.
  4. Advertising: Jansen noted that prospective operators will have to be able to explain how their advertising policies comply with the relevant regulations. He specifically mentioned bonuses, incentivization of players, targeting of vulnerable groups and compliance with misleading advertising regulations in this context. For more on (possible) advertising restrictions, and timeslots in particular, refer to point B.2 below.
  5. CRUKS and Central Database: in relation to the mechanics of CRUKS and the Central Database, Jansen referred to the planned workshops that will take place during the first half year of 2020 in which prospective operators will be provided with specific technical information on both elements.
  6. Additional enforcement instruments: as we previously reported, the enactment of the RGA will grant the KSA more enforcement instruments, like ‘mystery shopping’ (the possibility for KSA enforcement officials to secretly participate in illegal remote gambling games) and issuing binding instructions to both operators and promotors/facilitators (like payment service providers). With regards to the promotors/facilitators, after questions from the public whether B2-game suppliers, Jansen stressed that this category is not merely restricted to payment service providers

 Motions adopted in Parliament

Several motions were adopted during votes that took place on Tuesday 17 December. We discuss the most striking motions below.

  1. Cooling off period: a motion requesting that operators which have been actively targeting Dutch consumers after parliamentary debate on the RGA, are put at a disadvantage compared to reliable, bona fide and new operators. It is expected that the cooling-off period answers to this motion.
  2. Advertising restrictions: a motion has been adopted in which the government is requested to extend the timeslot in which gambling adverts are not allowed with two hours from the current 06.00 – 19:00 hours to 06.00 – 21.00 hours.

Sharif Ibrahim and Richard van Schaik