The Netherlands – Remote Gambling Decree: the journey continues

On Thursday 18 June 2020, the Dutch House of Representatives discussed the Remote Gambling Decree (one of the two major pieces of secondary legislation) in a plenary debate with Minister Sander Dekker of Safety and Justice. Ten motions were filed. In the debate, Members of Parliament (MPs)  introduced motions, and the Minister provided his comments and advice relating to those motions. On Tuesday 23 June 2020, the House of Representatives voted on the motions.

Formally, the envisaged date of entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act (RGA) is still 1 January 2021, with the remote gambling market opening on 1 July 2021. However, the main take-away of the debate, and the motions introduced therein, is that the Minister stated that a further delay cannot be excluded. Such delay however would not be more than ‘a couple of months’. With a motion requesting for researching the possibilities for delay now adopted, there is a real possibility that a further delay will occur. Such delay has however not yet been confirmed.

Other notable motions that were adopted are:

  • extension of the cooling-off period in step with a possible delay of the entry into force date/market opening date. This was expected;
  • reconsideration of the customer identification requirements for land based operators. This was rather unexpected and might be positive for land based operators who are faced with mandatory customer registration under the draft secondary legislation; and
  • involvement of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in the development of policy in the field of gambling addiction and prevention in the next term of government.

Luckily, the motion to slash back the licence term from five years (the term currently included in the draft legislation) to three years has been rejected. A detailed summary of every motion and the voting outcome is included at the bottom of this update. We do note that the actual effects of the adopted motions will only become visible at a later stage, when concrete steps of implementing the motions are taken. We will post regular updates in this regard.

CRUKS

On another note, the KSA published the technical specifications for CRUKS (the Central Exclusion Register) on Monday 22 June 2020. For now, the KSA focuses on informing land based operators only. In July, a test-environment will be made available, where land based operators will be able to test their ability to connect with the CRUKS database.

Remote gambling operators will be able to take part in the aforementioned activities in the future, but are already able to take note of the technical requirements for CRUKS. For more information, see the KSA information page (in Dutch) here.

Please contact us if you have any questions on these recent developments.

Richard van Schaik and Sharif Ibrahim

 

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Detailed summary of motions discussed by MPs on 18 June 2022 and which went up for voting on 23 June 2020

Motion 1: Reduction of Licence term from five years to three years

This motion is introduced in light of the scheduled evaluation of the RGA, three years after the RGA enters into force.

The Minister mentions that the evaluation only starts after three years and that it will take time before the findings are clear. In that light, he mentions that a licence term of five years provides for peace and stability for both licensees and regulators. He discourages this motion.

Voting result: motion rejected.

Motion 2: update House of Representatives every 6 months on how operators comply with gambling representative requirement

In this motion the government is requested to update the House of Representatives twice every year after entry into force of the RGA on how operators comply with the requirement of having a gambling representative. The parties filing this motion alleged that the requirements applicable to such representative are ‘flimsy’.

The Minister disagrees with the allegation that the requirements are flimsy and proposes to keep reporting limited to once a year in the regulators’ (KSA) annual report. He proposes to provide more regular updates in the early stage after entry into force of the RGA.

Voting result: motion postponed.

Motion 3: informing other EU countries to enforce rules against illegal gambling operators

This motion is introduced under the premise that many illegal remote gambling operators are based in Malta and that the Maltese government allegedly does not take action against such illegal operators.  MPs urge the Dutch government to actively engage with other EU countries in relation to combatting illegal gambling operators.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 4: request for the government to fulfill specific conditions in relation to CRUKS

This motion essentially comes down to the request to ensure that CRUKS is functioning properly before entry into force of CRUKS. The Minister voiced his agreement with this motion.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 5: research whether a delay of the entry into force/market open date of the RGA is necessary in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this motion requests to research whether a delay of the entry into force of the RGA is possible and to inform the House of Representatives ultimately three months prior to the envisaged (new) entry into force date.

The Minister admits that a delay might be possible. He also stresses that he will inform parties as soon as possible. He also stressed that he thinks that is too short notice to inform the relevant parties three months prior to entry into force. He promises that all relevant parties will be swiftly informed and that any possible delay will be not more than ‘a couple of months’.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 6: request to extend the cooling off period

This motion comes down to the request that the cooling off period must be extended if the entry into force-date or date of market opening is delayed. The Minister agrees, save for the fact that the cooling-off period can not be extended for a lot longer, as that will weaken it’s legal basis and interested parties will definitely legally challenge the length of that period. Moving along with the entry into force is acceptable to the minister, as such delay would be only ‘a couple of months’.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 7: create level playing field for all operators of games of chance

This motion strives to create a level playing field for both online operators of game of chance and state lotteries, as the latter are subject to other rules. The Minister states that games with more risk, require a different approach than those with lower risk.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 8: EU research on effect of online market entry by state lotteries on levies

This motion is introduced because there are worries that state lotteries that enter the online market may have to pay more or less levies due to such entry. The Minister explains that remote gambling licences do not allow for the offering of lottery and lotto games. As such, there is no need for further research.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 9: reconsideration of customer registration requirements for land-based operators

This motion alleges that the visitor registration requirements for land-based operators are untargeted, disproportionate and problematic and provide for many objections in the realm of data safety and privacy. The motion requests the Minister to reconsider the registration requirements. The Minister states that this issue is blown out of proportion, that the Dutch Data Protection Authority sees a justified legal interest and that the measures proposed are not that difficult to implement, as Holland Casino already has them implemented. The Minister discourages this motion.

Voting result: motion adopted.

Motion 10: request to enable the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to develop policy in the area of gambling addiction

This motion proposes that the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport shall be enabled to develop policy in the area of prevention of gambling addiction, instead of the Ministry of Safety and Justice, which is now responsible for this topic. The motion proposes to realize this in the next term of government.

Voting result: motion adopted.