Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill Could Pass in October 2017

Saturday, September 9th, 2017 | Written by April Bergman

The Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill has a slim chance of being passed in the Dutch Senate in October 2017. If the Senate does not pass in October, then the Remote Gambling Bill has no chance of passing until the summer of 2018 at the earlier.

Proponents of the Remote Gambling Bill say that the current framework for gambling in the Netherlands is outdated. Because the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act is almost 50 years old, it does not account for Internet and smartphone gambling at all. A variety of other laws do not reflect the changing nature of Dutch society, especially Dutch attitudes towards gambling.

Because of the antiquated nature of the gaming laws, many Dutch gamblers turn to unregulated online casinos, sportbooks, and poker sites. To relieve the society of underground online gambling habits, Dutch lawmakers began discussing amendments to the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act in 2013.

Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill

By the summer of 2016, the lower house of the Dutch parliament passed the Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill. At the time, it was expected that the Netherlands Senate would pass the RGB within the 2016 calendar year. Instead, fluctuations in the ruling coalition meant that the bill did not receive careful study for the remainder of 2016.

With some alterations, the Dutch House of Representatives passed the Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill on July 7, 2017. Less than a week later, two Dutch officials with the Ministry of Security and Justice, Frans Maas and Dennis van Breeman, spoke at Gaming in Holland Conference & Expo 2017 in mid-July. The conference was touted as an introduction to the Remote Gaming Bill’s secondary legislation which was organized by Gaming Holland.

During their speeches at the conference, Maas and van Breeman described what new online gambling regulations should look like. The two men also made their predictions about the likely passage of the Remote Gambling Bill. Online gambling permit holders would be required to pay a 29% tax on games of chance, a 1.5% contribution to the Gaming Authority, and a a 0.25% contribution to the addiction fund.

In comments during the conference, the officials suggested the Netherlands Senate was not likely to pass the Remote Gambling Bill in 2017. Mr. Maas said that the Senate might discuss the bill in October 2017, but was likely to pass on the legislation until 2018. If so, summer 2018 was the likeliest time to see the Remote Gambling Bill passed.

Dennis van Breeman on Remote Gambling Bill

Dennis van Breeman, Program Manager of Gambling Policy Modernization at the Ministry of Security and Justice, was the first government representative to speak at the July 13-14 conference. At the conference, Dennis van Breeman suggested four types of regulations in order to modernize gambling in the Netherlands: the Remote Gambling Bill, a Casino Bill, new lottery system regulations, and slot machine regulations. Van Breeman said the Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill would expand responsible gaming obligations and competencies in the gaming authority.

He said a Casino Bill should lead to the privatization of Holland casinos and create a casino market. The lottery system should make license allocation transparent and move away from monopolies, while investigating the possibilities of privatizing the state lottery/lotto. Finally, slot machine regulations should modernize technical regulations, while promoting responsible gaming.

Frans Maas on Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill

Frans Maas, the Policy Officer at the Ministry of Security and Justice, spoke in more specific terms about the gambling regulations which a proposed Netherlands Gaming Authority should adopt. Mr. Maas spoke about licensing for sports betting, racebooks, poker, and casinos.

The Ministry of Security’s policy officer called for operators to adopt updates identity verification technologies which would collect players’ name, contact information, date and place of birth, and social security number. He believes verification when making payments through an EU-licensed payment provider which must be verified within a maximum of 30 days.

Through a complicated process, Maas discussed how a player profile should lead to a temporary account, without no winnings withdrawn. After verification, the player would receive a permanent account, which would create an advanced anti-money laundering process. Verification could be done through micro-payment methods. Also, players could not maintain a negative cash account — that is, licensees could not offer credit to gamblers.

Dutch Senate Hearings on Gambling Bill

If the Dutch Senate passed such a bill, then a long vetting process likely would happen for online gambling operators. Many have operated as unlicensed and unregulated casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites over the years. Whether those sites would be blacklisted or licensed is anyone’s guess, for the time being.

Whatever the case, the Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill does not look like it will pass in 2017. Still, Dennis van Breeman and Frans Maas provided a glimpse of what legalized, licensed, regulated, and taxed online and mobile casinos in the Netherlands would look like. It is in keeping with other legal European online gambling regulations. Passage or rejection is likely to be determined by the political coalition which governs the Netherlands in the summer of 2018.