Dutch Gambling Regulator Lacks Power to Combat Illegal Gambling

The Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, in a written statement in relation to recent comments from local media, said that it needs greater power in order to be able to combat illegal gambling more effectively. The regulator further explained that it will have the necessary power only after the Dutch government passes a bill that would re-regulate the nation’s gambling industry.

Over the weekend, two Dutch media outlets – Trouw and Het Financieele Dagblad – criticized the current gambling status quo in the country, generally arguing that not enough has been done for the prevention of unlicensed operators from targeting local players.

It is also important to note that both newspapers pointed out in their separate articles that the majority of online gambling companies targeting local players were based in Malta. What is more, it has been revealed that a number of Dutch operators have established offices in Malta in preparation for the re-regulation of the Netherlands’ gambling industry.

Online gambling is practically illegal in the country at present and violators may face heavy fines in case they breach the existing regulations. However, the Trouw pointed out in its piece on the matter that Kansspelautoriteit does not have enough power to fine and punish those who dismiss the rules, even though some of them may be based in EU member states.

The regulatory body pointed out that while customer protection has remained its priority over the five years of its existence, it will only be able to deploy more effective tools when the new gambling law comes into force.

The Netherlands’ Re-Regulation Push

Dutch lawmakers have been working on the country’s new regulatory regime for several years now. And even though a bill that would allow for international operators to apply for licenses and operate in the country was passed by the House of Representatives, the lower house of the country’s parliament, it still has other hurdles to overcome before being adopted as a law.

The Dutch Senate will too have to vote the piece of legislation, but it is still unclear when this will happen. Last month, Kansspelautoriteit Vice President Henk Kesler said during an ESSA meeting in London that the Netherlands’ new gambling law could be expected in early 2019.

Information about the regulation of the gambling industry in the Netherlands is still limited, but it is believed that the new law will make it possible for international operators to service local gambling customers in a regulated environment. However, reports emerged earlier this year that rules may be implemented that would require for licensed operators to have physical presence in the country in order to be able to operate iGaming and betting services. Yet, many believe that such a provision will be broadly contested and not very likely to be introduced.

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