Category Archive: RGA

The Netherlands: New fines for providing remote gambling services and the promotion thereof

On 24 June, The Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit or “KSA“) announced that it imposed fines of EUR 270,000 on Simbat Entertainment Systems Limited for providing remote gambling services (online gambling/games of chance) via at least eleven different websites, targeted at Dutch players. The KSA considered Spinity Limited as the promotional agent of Simbat and the KSA has also imposed a fine of EUR 100,000 on Spinity for promoting (advertising) Simbat’s remote gambling services.

The KSA took the official decision to impose these fines already in July 2017; both parties appealed this decision (and the publication thereof) at the administrative division of the The Hague Court. Pending the appeal, publication of the decision was postponed. Both appeals were dismissed by the administrative division on 6 June 2019, leading to publication of the decision earlier this week.

The offering (and advertising) of remote gambling is currently illegal in the Netherlands. However, as mentioned in our earlier posts, the legalization of online gambling in the Netherlands is currently an ongoing process with secondary legislation (inter alia including criteria for licensing) now under development. The current prognosis is that applications for obtaining a remote gambling licence will be possible as of 1 July 2020, with the first fully licensed operator up and running at the earliest as of 1 January 2021. Currently, 183 parties have expressed their interest in obtaining a licence. We do stress that the dates of 1 July 2020 and 1 January 2021 are the current prognosis and could be very well subject to change.

Offering remote gambling services without a licence will remain illegal in any case. We will keep you updated of the developments on this blog.

Sharif Ibrahim and Richard van Schaik

The Netherlands – Vote on RGA on 19/2, Privatization Holland Casino suspended

During the plenary session of the Senate today, it was decided that the final vote with respect to the Dutch Remote Gambling Act (“RGA”) will take place next Tuesday 19 February.

There was still too much uncertainty among the different members of the Senate, and the Minister was heavily questioned today on different parts of the RGA.

The main discussion concerned the cooling-off period, that is envisaged to be applied to gambling operators that have previously violated the Dutch gambling laws by actively targeting games of chance to the Dutch market. The Minister indicated that the prioritization criteria of the Dutch Gambling Authority will be leading to assess whether a gambling operator has previously violated the Dutch market (in short: use of the Dutch language, use of a .nl website,  use of IDEAL, etc). Furthermore, there was discussion with respect to the length of the cooling-off period. The Minister mentioned that he can support a cooling-off period of 2 years.

The second main point of discussion concerned the restrictions on advertisement of online gambling. It was questioned whether advertisement would be necessary to achieve the desired channelling rate. However, the Minister was pretty clear that he doesn’t not support further restrictions on the current proposed regime, as informing players through advertisements is – in his view – an essential part of achieving the desired channelling rate.

As one or more members of the Senate asked for a vote, the vote on the RGA will take place on 19 February 2019. We will of course keep you updated on the vote!

Finally, the Minister asked the Senate to postpone the vote on the privatization of Holland Casino, as there did not seem to be enough support from the Senate. The Minister will revert to the Senate in the last week of May 2019 with further information on how he envisages to present this act to the Senate (e.g., no expansion of the amount of casinos, privatization will take place at a later stage), after which a vote may take place.

 

Ilias Abassi and Richard van Schaik