Netherlands’ Failure to Regulate Online Gambling a “Disgrace”, Says Kansspelautoriteit Chairman

Dutch Senate yet to vote on Remote Gambling Bill that the Lower House approved two years ago

The Chairman of the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, Jan Suyver, called it a disgrace that the Netherlands has failed to re-regulate and liberalize its online gambling market. Mr. Suyver commented on the country’s current local online gaming and betting landscape in a recent interview with news outlet Financieele Dagblad.

The Chairman of the Dutch gambling authority pointed out that the Netherlands is one of very few EU countries to have not regulated their online gambling markets in a manner that allows for international companies to apply for and obtain licenses and operate in a monitored and regulated environment.

Mr. Suyver went on to say that everywhere he goes, online gambling is legalized and jurisdictions with regulated markets really find it difficult to understand why the Netherlands has failed to keep pace with the developments in the gambling industry.

The Kansspelautoriteit Chairman further elaborated that a possible reason for the delayed re-organization of the local market might be the staunch opposition from the Dutch Parliament’s two Protestant parties – the Christien Unie and the SGP.

The country’s gambling law has barely been changed over the past five decades and the last significant amendments to the way gambling operations were conducted in the Netherlands were made before the rise of the Internet.

Senate Yet to Vote on Bill

A Remote Gambling Bill was approved by the lower house of the Dutch Parliament in 2016 and it is now up to the Senate to pass it and move to the re-organization of the country’s gambling market. The Senate was expected to discuss the bill after the Parliament’s summer recess, but any significant progress on the legislative piece is yet to be made.

Under the piece of legislation, international gambling companies will be able to apply for licenses and operate in a regulated environment. The re-organization of the local market will also provide Kansspelautoriteit with greater powers to spot and penalize erring operators.

The local gambling regulator has been imposing fines on companies targeting Dutch customers without being authorized to do so, but has found it hard to collect the fines. Malta-headquartered online gambling operators Betsson and Mr Green were the latest to be slapped hefty fines by the regulatory body and both said they would appeal the penalties.

While Dutch courts have traditionally sided with Kansspelautoriteit over the years, the regulator still lacks the power to actually punish companies luring Dutch players.

However, under recent proposals, operators previously fined by the regulator might have to wait for a while before being allowed to apply for licenses when the country finally regulates its online gambling market. A punitive measure of this kind has been broadly discussed and it now seems that it might be implemented, as recently stated by Dutch Minister for Justice and Security Sander Dekker.

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