By Michael Ellen, Partner at Regulus Partners
Netherlands: remote – an orange shade of grey
Within days of GB Gambling Commission’s clarification of its licensees’ responsibility for digital advertising placed on their behalf by others, the CEO of the Dutch regulator KSA has spoken on a parallel theme. One clear difference in the two underlying positions is that a regulated Dutch remote market is unlikely to open for another two years. And because it has not categorically closed the door on current activity in the country’s material grey market, Marja Appelman’s address (to the Gaming in Holland Conference) may have left some uncertainty in operators’ minds. However, while there is not yet an active licensing process, it is now clear that bad actors (ie, operators fined for unlicensed operation in the Netherlands – typically where the offer is overtly ‘Dutch’) need not bother to apply.
KSA has also indicated that it is now running a no-warnings enforcement policy on websites “targeting Dutch players”, a concept they explain by listing specific examples. Ms Appelman said “We have always been clear that all unlicensed offerings targeted at Dutch consumers are illegal” and then “If you don’t target a Dutch consumer, it’s very acceptable”. However, in order to do this, Dutch law and enforcement will need to be both transparent and equitable (eminently achievable but easy to fail) or risk CJEU opprobrium.