The Netherlands – Update Dutch Remote Gambling Decree

In 2018, one of the two major pieces of secondary legislation in relation to the Dutch Remote Gambling Act, the Remote Gambling Decree (“Decree”), was offered for public consultation (covered in this post). The consultation for the other piece of secondary legislation, the Remote Gambling Regulation (covered here) was put into public consultation last year, in July 2019.

The Minister has now sent an updated draft of the Decree (incorporating comments from the consultation) to Dutch Parliament for their comments and approval. The new draft Decree is available in Dutch here. This is a step forward towards finalization (and entry into force) of the Decree. After this phase, the Decree will be sent to the Dutch Council of State for an assessment of its legal implications.

Most of the changes to the initial draft are further explanations and refinements, however there are some differences compared to the 2018 version: the most striking amendments to the Decree are the following:

  1. Advertising watershed: following parliamentary motions, the advertising watershed has been divided into two categories.
    1. 06.00 – 19.00 hours: no advertising allowed for low-risk games of chance (inter alia lotteries).
    2. 06.00 hours – 21.00 hours: no advertising allowed for high-risk games of chance (inter alia remote games of chance, land based casino games and arcade halls, sports betting and scratch cards).
  2. Bonus rules: the rules on bonuses have been further clarified.
    1. Examples of bonuses are: free play upon registration, doubling of winnings.
    2. Bonuses are not a part of the game of chance itself or its game mechanics (e.g. awards gained through playing a remote game of chance – e.g. extra games/spins – are not considered a bonus and are not subject to the bonus restrictions).
  3. Temporary playing account: temporary playing accounts were possible under the 2018 Decree, but have been deleted from the updated Decree.
    1. The 2018 Decree enabled players to register and start playing (and accumulate winnings) and having identification performed within 30 days of registration.
    2. Under the updated Decree, a player must be registered and identified before the player may accumulate winnings on his playing account.
  4. Sports betting:
    1. E-sports betting is only allowed when it is qualified as an official sport by an official sports body (which currently is not the case according to the Minister).
    2. A blacklist will list all sports or competitions which are not eligible for sports-betting purposes. Dutch Sports federation NOC*NSF will have an advisory role in blacklisting.
  5. Financials: new clarification regarding financial requirements has been added to the notes to the Decree.
    1. Creditcard accounts are not allowed to be used as the players’ current account. The current account is the account to which winnings are transferred from the playing account. In contrast, payment accounts held at payment service providers are allowed to function as a current account.
    2. The financial guarantee to be provided by the applicant for a remote gambling licence is a maximized amount. This means that the financial guarantee can also be set at a lower amount, based on individual circumstances.
    3. In the explanatory notes to the Decree, some useful financial predictions have been included. Under the assumption that there will be 68 licensed operators, consulting company Sira Consulting predicts inter alia that:
  6. the initial set-up costs for operators are expected to be around EUR 800,000; and
  7. structural yearly costs are also expected to be around EUR 800,000.

Furthermore, in a letter to Parliament (available in Dutch here), the Minister discussed that the prohibition on advertising for remote gambling by employing famous sports individuals will be expanded to cover other famous influencers that have a substantial reach under minors and those under the age of 25.

It is still expected that the Remote Gambling Act and its secondary legislation will enter into force on 1 January 2021. Application for a remote gambling licence would be possible as of that date, and it is expected that the first licence is granted six months later.

Richard van Schaik and Sharif Ibrahim