Dutch remote gaming law by next summer? ‘Reluctance is appropriate’

Dutch remote gaming law by next summer? ‘Reluctance is appropriate’

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 Posted by James Walker

The Dutch Remote Gaming Bill is unlikely to be signed into law within the next 12 months, according to the head of the country’s gambling modernisation team.

On July 7, 2016, the Dutch Lower House passed a landmark bill to regulate online gaming in the country for the first time.

The bill, which passed with a comfortable majority, followed several years of lobbying and research efforts, as various stakeholders fought to bring the Netherlands’ gaming legislation into the 21st century.

At the time of the bill’s passing, the consensus among local industry observers was that the Dutch online gambling law would come into effect during the first months 2018. This, however, is unlikely to be the case.

Speaking at the Gaming in Holland conference in Amsterdam this week, Dennis van Breeman, programme manager for Gambling Policy Modernisation at the Ministry of Security and Justice, provided a status update on the country’s online gaming legislation.

“At the moment, we are working on the second round of questions from the senate regarding the Remote Gaming Bill. Including the previous questions from parliament, there are almost 1,000 written questions.

“We aim at answering the senate in August or the beginning of September, and around the same time we expect to start a public consultation of the lower regulation of the Remote Gaming Bill.”

The legalisation of online gaming forms just one part of the country’s wider agenda to modernise its current gambling legislation. The government is also working on the removing the country’s casino monopoly, modifying the lottery market and updating its slot machine regulation.

“We’re making slow progress and are only halfway there – mainly because of the complexity of the political process,” van Breeman said. “The parliamentary elections of March this year have led to a long [government] formation process. We still don’t have a new cabinet, and it is likely that the formation will have influence on the further process of the modernisation.

“So where does this leave us? We expect the debate in senate to take place around October or November, but the senate has decided to combine the treatment of the casino bill and remote gaming bill, so the pace also depends on whether we get a second round of questions for the casino law.

“After the public consultation, the lower regulation first has to be sent to parliament then afterwards to the state council for advice. Therefore, the earliest time to have the remote gaming regulation go into force is July 2018. This is a tight schedule, and I think reluctance is appropriate.”

Totally Gaming says: Potential entrants to the Netherlands’ online gaming market are, by now, well used to playing the waiting game. Frustrations surrounding the slow progress of the country’s Remote Gaming Bill are likely to continue over the coming months, as the timeline is extended once again.

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