Dutch gaming law: Waiting for the ‘Big Bang’

Dutch gaming law: Waiting for the ‘Big Bang’

Friday, June 30, 2017 Posted by James Walker

Prospective operators who provide all necessary documentation in a timely manner will be granted a Dutch online gaming licence simultaneously – in what the head of the country’s regulator calls the ‘Big Bang’.

At this year’s Gaming in Holland Conference, Marja Appelman, CEO of the Netherlands Gaming Authority, outlined the licensing requirements and procedure for the hotly-anticipated Remote Gaming Bill.

Addressing the industry in Amsterdam earlier this month, Appelman said:

“We share the same aim to make it possible for consumers in the Netherlands to gamble safely in a fair and attractive gambling market. One could say that we are on a journey together.

Once or twice a year, we meet here at the Gaming in Holland conference to talk about our business, our experiences and our expectations, and then each of us continues their journey back to their business, each with their own role and responsibilities.

Operators, service provides, advisors, regulator – for all of us here on our journey, the law is our guide.

I would like to shed some light on the requirements and the procedure the Netherlands Gaming Authority will use when it comes to the licensing of remote gambling.

On our journey, the bill for remote gambling is the milestone we wish to reach. The requirements for obtaining an online gambling licence are based on the secondary legislation that is attached to the bill.

At this moment, I am unable to provide detailed information about the requirements and the procedure for obtaining an online gambling licence, because we do not want to interfere or anticipate on the decision on the senate on the bill. Nor do we want to anticipate on the discussions on the secondary legislation.”

Licence requirements

“We share a common goal to strive for a fair and transparent licence procedure that creates a level playing field and ultimately offers consumers the opportunity to play safely and responsibly.

On the basis of the secondary legislation, the Netherlands Gaming Authority intends to focus the licensing requirements on three points.

First, we need to know who is the applicant for an online gaming licence. This comprises a check on elements from the secondary legislation, especially with regard to the identity of the applicant, the transparency of the organisation and the trustworthiness on different organisational levels, up to policy makers and the ultimate beneficial owner.

We also need to know the competence of the board and the staff, and the financial stability of the applicant.

Second, we need to know the business context of the applicant. This comprises a check with regard to the policies and the procedures of the applicant on several subjects, such as the prevention of gambling addiction, marketing and advertising, the identification and verification of participants, and outsourcing.

Third, we need to be assured that we can safely and effectively communicate with you, digitally. In this regard, we will especially look at your ability to fulfil the obligations regarding the data safe and on the exclusion system.

Our licensing requirements will overall reflect the core values of the Netherlands Gaming Authority, which places consumers first. This means that applicants must convince us that they will honour their commitments towards consumers.

They have to convince us that they will protect consumers, and that they will respect the law. And they have to convince us that they operate in a transparent manner.

I am aware that the licensing process will be a tough period for those who apply, but let me assure you that the Netherlands Gaming Authority intends to travel this part of the road together with you.

The Gaming Authority aims to be a strict regulator – particularly with regards to our role as a gatekeeper. One has to earn their licence. But at the same time, we aim to have a fruitful and professional contact during the process.

We believe that contact, the exchange of information between the interested parties and the gaming authority is important in order to get all the technicalities right.”

Licensing procedure

“With the licensing procedure, we distinguish, roughly, three phases. You should appreciate that the timing of these phases is dependent on the timing of the lower legislation and the political progress.

For the first phase, about two months after the Ministry of Justice has finished the consultation of the secondary regulation, the Netherlands Gaming Authority will consult the licence requirements and the licensing procedure. I hope that this will be some time in the autumn.

At that moment, you will have the complete picture of what is needed to enter the Dutch remote gambling market.

During the consultation phase, we are happy to hear your feedback so we can further improve the requirements and the procedure.

The second phase will already start during the consultation phase. The Netherlands Gaming Authority plans to contact parties interested in an online gambling licence. We will organise a few gatherings, during which we will explain the technical and administrative details.

In addition, we plan to get in touch with some experienced parties to test the technical settings of the exclusion system and of the data safe. Our purpose is that the interaction with the parties and the exchange of information will help to get all the technicalities right, to smoothen the licensing process.

Finally, in the third phase, the Netherlands Gaming Authority will process the formal applications for online gaming licences. This is the moment we are all waiting for, of course.

We aim to review the licence applications within six months, and we also know that such a review will not automatically result in a licence.

From experience in other countries, we understand that the speed of the application process very much depends on the speed at which the applicant can produce the necessary documents.

And for all those parties who are able to speedily produce all the necessary documents, we intend to issue the licences at the same time. The so-called Big Bang.”

‘We have to be patient’

“One could say that we are on a journey together in the Dutch gambling landscape. The law guides us. Many of us are looking forward to reaching the milestone of the Remote Gambling Bill, but we have to be patient and let Parliament do its job.

The Parliament and Dutch society demands the Netherlands Gaming Authority to accompany you on your journey, in order to safeguard the gambling market.

Perhaps some of you would like to travel without our company. But, in fact, we are here.

I’m glad that we are in this together, because there’s one thing of which I am certain: to make it possible for future consumers to gamble remotely in a safe and fair setting, we all have to take our responsibilities – players, operators, regulators and other organisations involved.”

 

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