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The Netherlands – Dutch Senate adopts Remote Gambling Bill

By - 20 February 2019

The Dutch Senate has voted to adopt the Remote Gambling Bill with the passage of the bill ending the long overdue wait for a modern gaming legislation in the Netherlands, meaning foreign gaming companies will be able to receive a local license.

The new law is expected to enter into force at the earliest in the third quarter of 2020, which is also when license applications will be accepted. Gaming tax will be applicable at the rate of 29 per cent of GGR.

The new law is accompanied by a proposal from the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker for a cooling off period of two years for ‘illegal operators.’ How the proposal would find its way into a formal regulation is yet unclear. The Minister’s proposal does not distinguish between fined operators and those who have not been fined, putting Corona Ltd (a Betsson subsidiary that received a fine and disputed it in 2018), in the same position with all other foreign operators active in the market, in that regard.

Sander Dekker, Dutch Minister for Legal Protection, said: “We see that society is digitising and more than half a million Dutch people are participating unprotected in online gambling at the moment. 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.”

Pontus Lindwall, CEO of Betsson, said: “Finally, there will be modern gambling legislation in one more big monopolistic market in Europe. Betsson Group already has 12 local licenses in Europe and we are looking forward to the Netherlands following the suit of other European countries in opening up the market to competition. We welcome the regulation despite our concern about the so called cooling off period which could harm channelisation of local customers as well as be deemed as non-compliant with EU law.”

“Our understanding is that all international operators currently in the market would be eligible for a Dutch license but such license may be issued with a delay reflecting the cooling off period. It is also our understanding that this period is not intended to be a blackout period. Should the cooling off period be implemented, Betsson operational subsidiaries have made and will continue to make certain adjustments to their offering to best handle the impact of the cooling-off period as well as put themselves into a good position for the licensing process,” Mr. Lindwall added.

Caption: Sander Dekker

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