Dutch Senate passes Remote Gaming Bill
After almost three years since its passage through the House of Representatives, the Dutch Senate has finally adopted the Remote Gaming Bill. The regulatory framework will be passed into law through a Royal Decree, laying the foundation for a regulated gambling industry in the Netherlands.
Assuming there are no further major delays, operators can expect licences to start being awarded from 2020. Tax will be set at the high level of 29.1% of gross revenue, while operators will also need to meet stringent responsible gambling measures to become licensed.
Alongside the main vote was a vote on measures to implement a “cooling off” period for operators who had operated “illegally” in the previously grey Dutch market. That motion was approved, with the period set at two years, although exactly what constitutes an “illegal” operator was not defined.
An investigation into whether to ban or restrict gambling advertising is also to be launched. Senators will also consider giving the Dutch regulator, KSA, the authority to block ISPs of illegal operators. However, that power would only be available after the evaluation period for the new framework ends, which is scheduled for 2022.
Speaking about the result, Dutch Minister of Justice Sander Dekker, the long-time campaigner for the Bill, said:
We see that society is digitizing, and more than half a million Dutch people are participating unprotected in online gambling currently. This involves big risks such as gambling addiction and fraud. I am happy that we can now offer players a secure offer so that games of chance can be played online in a responsible manner.– Sander Dekker, Dutch Minister of Justice
Immediately after the vote, the KSA has outlined the licensing criteria operators must meet. They must approve to connect to a central database in which all activity is shared, as well as partaking in a national self-exclusion scheme.
They must also implement and display strict responsible gambling measures, including meeting duty of care standards, by intervening in suspected cases of problem gambling.
The news was also welcomed by the European Gaming and Betting Assocation, who had called for Senators to approve the legislation last week.