Arcades face more restrictions after Dutch gambling law finally passes

Arcades face more restrictions after Dutch gambling law finally passes

Thursday, July 7, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
The online law is finally passed in Holland, but the 29% tax rate is a turn off.

The Dutch Parliament has finally passed its Remote Gambling laws after much horsetrading and discussion over a series of non-binding amendments to the Remote Gambling Bill.

While the real meat will be added in the autumn via secondary legislation, the current framework has now progressed through the lower house of Dutch Parliament, with the law in place as early as 2017 as long as it gets approved by the Dutch Senate.

The high tax rate of 29% GGR has likely whittled down the number of operators interested in applying for a licence to 40-50, despite the authorities claiming they had received interest from over 300 companies. A leading Dutch lawyer suggested the new look market would be similar to Denmark, with a flurry of initial licensees followed by later consolidation.

The new law had some body blows for the land-based sector looking to leverage its position in the market to gain an advantage online. An amendment means that the land-based operators and lotteries in the country are banned from using their current player databases in order to promote their online offering.

There have also been further restrictions introduced via the bill for arcades. Despite the attempts of an MP called Jeroen van Wijngaarden to remove the condition, arcades will have to erect physical entry and player identification barriers in order to ensure there’s no underage play. They will also be obligated to contribute to a social responsibility fund.

An earlier proposal to ban sports sponsorship by gambling companies was ‘torpedoed’ after pressure from the country’s football clubs keen to protect any revenue streams, and there was also a non-binding motion around the banning of live betting advertising.

Regardless of the late changes the news will be welcomed by online gaming firms looking to make a move into the Netherlands, with the bill ending years of uncertainty, improving player protection and paving the way to greater innovation in the market.

Jaspar Hoekert, co-founder of Revenue Engineers, a full-service gaming consultancy based in the Netherlands, said the amendment is a major boon for new entrants to the Netherlands’ online market: “We are absolutely delighted to see the Dutch Remote Gaming Bill finally pass through parliament. While there are some aspects of the legislation which are not ideal, this is still a very workable framework and I am confident that the Netherlands will quickly emerge as one of Europe’s most important gaming jurisdictions.

“For any operators or providers looking to make the most of this new opportunity, it is important to act quickly and seek local expertise.”

Totally Gaming Says: “The passage of the Dutch legislation at least provides some certainty over a market that has prevaricated over the past few years. The high taxation rate may have put off a lot of potential operators, but there will still be those interested in dipping their toe in the waters in the hope that the rate may come down in the future.”

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