Dutch Online Gambling Law Can Be Expected in Early 2019, Kansspelautoriteit Vice President Says

Netherlands’ new online gambling law can be expected to come into effect on January 1, 2019, Henk Kesler, Vice President of the Dutch Gaming Authority, said during an ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) event in London.

Mr. Kesler was one of the many industry representatives to attend the Integrity in Sports Betting: What’s at Stake? conference, which was organized by ESSA and took place on October 12, 2017 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London. ESSA is known to be a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the integrity of international sports.

Kansspelautoriteit’s Vice President revealed that the Netherlands’ new gambling law will be ready for January 1, 2019 implementation, signaling that discussions over the new regulatory regime are expected to begin shortly.

Generally speaking, the new law will allow interested international operators to apply for a license from the country’s gambling regulatory body and to operate in a regulated environment. An online gaming bill was approved in the Dutch Lower House last summer but progress on the legislative piece stalled afterwards. The bill now needs a positive vote from the Dutch Senate in order to be signed into law.

This year’s Dutch general election further delayed any talks on the future of the nation’s gambling industry. Dutch voters cast their ballots on March 15, 2017, but it took record 208 days of negotiations before officials formed a government. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte presented a four-party coalition, which will be tasked with governing the nation over the next several years.

Kansspelautoriteit New Set of Online Gambling Rules

While politicians were negotiating a new government over the course of the past seven months, the Dutch Gaming Authority upped its agenda to further restrict the provision of unregulated online gambling services to local players.

In May, Kansspelautoriteit released a new set of rules that aimed exactly at making it much harder for foreign operators to target Dutch players and for iGaming affiliates to promote online casino and betting services to customers from the Netherlands.

The gambling regulator pointed back in the summer that the move should not have come as a big surprise as online gambling was illegal in the country and that Kansspelautoriteit itself has always been opposed to the illegal provision of iGaming services. The new set of rules and prohibitions came as a necessary reiteration of the regulatory body’s stance on the matter, as Kansspelautoriteit officials pointed out themselves.

Physical Presence Requirement

Earlier this week, the four parties to form the new Dutch government released a policy program which, among other things, included a very small amount of information about the future of the country’s online gambling industry. According to that minuscule piece of information, foreign iGaming operators may be required to have a form of physical presence in the Netherlands in order to be allowed to operate there.

However, it is yet to be clarified how a form of physical presence should be interpreted, as this could mean that operators may be required to only establish an office in the Netherlands, to have their Dutch-targeting servers based in the country, or that only local land-based operators will be able to apply for iGaming licenses.

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