Minister Dekker: Sanctioned Operators to Be Excluded at Remote Market Opening

Last week, the Permanent Committee for Justice and Security of the Dutch Lower House met with Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker to discuss a series of topics related to gambling policy.

Remote operators that have been sanctioned by the Netherlands Gaming Authority for offering unlicensed games of chance to Dutch consumers will not be able to acquire a license when the online market opens, Minister Dekker confirmed.

However, as a permanent exclusion might be legally disproportionate, Dekker will also ask the Gaming Authority to develop a policy that could give sanctioned operators a second chance to qualify for a remote license – albeit after an, as of yet, unspecified period of time.

Minister Dekker also said that the temporary gaming tax increase that was put in place to cover the budget shortfall caused by the delayed implementation of the Remote Gaming Bill would remain in place until six months after the enactment of said bill.

Read our full report here.


Senate Registrar Clarifies Procedure Regarding Remote Gaming Bill

Last week, we reported that the Permanent Committee for Justice and Security of the Dutch Senate had moved to finalize its report on the Remote Gaming Bill on October 16, thus ending the written procedure and clearing the way for an up or down vote during a subsequent plenary session.

Contrary to its more usual practice, the Committee’s report will this time also contain a number of additional questions that will still need to be answered by the government.

However, as soon as the answers to these questions are received, the bill will be automatically ready for a plenary debate, without – as is usually the case when the government responds to written questions – the need for further discussion of the bill by the Permanent Committee.

It is also relevant to note that the Permanent Committee for Justice and Security aims to simultaneously bring up the Remote Gaming Bill and Casino Reform bill for plenary debate. As the written procedure regarding the Casino Reform Bill is still at an earlier stage than the procedure on the Remote Gaming Bill, the Committee’s request for supplementary answers on the latter bill is not expected to lead to any additional delays.


How “Normal” Is Gambling?

How should the industry deal with the charge that “normalization” of gambling – e.g. through advertising – as just another form of entertainment should be resisted?

Dan Waugh of consultancy firm Regulus partners argues that while gambling can (and sometimes does) involve severe harms for the individual and for wider society, painting the activity as “abnormal” is not helpful either:

“[A]ttempts to marginalise the very act of gambling may inhibit help-seeking amongst those who may be suffering from disordered gambling by inadvertently deepening feelings of shame.

However, perhaps the most important reason to push back against the ‘normalisation’ charge is that occasional gambling is actually… well… rather normal. Some may wish this were not so – but to claim otherwise is both delusional and an affront to the rights of adult consumers to make their own choices about how they get their kicks.”


Upcoming Events

The following events may be of interest to members of the GiH community.

  • The 2018 edition of Blockchain Livewill feature eight conference stages, including one focused on gaming and gambling. No less than 3,000 attendees are expected to gather in The Grand Hall, Olympia, London on September 26, 2018.
  • The Responsible Marketing For Gambling Operators Conference, which focuses on the changing regulatory landscape around promotions, will take place on October 3, 2018, in London.
  • On October 16, Kindred Group will host the Sustainable Gambling Conferencein Stockholm, Sweden. The conference aims to highlight different perspectives on sustainable gambling by bringing together stakeholders from the industry, academia, and regulators.
  • The Lisbon Affiliate Conference will take place on 17-20 October 2018 and is expected to bring together the key stakeholders in the iGaming affiliate industry.
  • On 14 November, trade association VAN Kansspelen will hold its annual members’ meeting. The members’ meeting will be followed by a product presentation, showcasing the latest innovations in land-based gaming products.
  • Clarion Gaming has launched ICE Sports Betting USA, a two-day event to be held in New York on 27 and 28 November, 2018.


Dutch Government to Change Land-based Sports Betting Tax to 29% of GGR

The Dutch government yesterday proposed a bill that would change the tax rate on land-based sports betting from 29% of awarded prize money to 29% of gross gaming revenue (GGR).

The change was put forward in order to bring the tax rate on land-based sports betting in line with the (proposed) tax rate on online sports betting. The European Commission ruled earlier that land-based and online betting (as well as bingo) must be taxed equally in order to avoid charges of impermissible state aid.

It is intended that the rate change on land-based sports betting will come into force simultaneously with the implementation of the Remote Gaming Bill.


Other News

Fifteen gambling regulators from across Europe (including the Netherlands Gaming Authority), as well as the Washington State Gambling Commission, have signed an agreement to work together to address the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling.


Holland Casino reported a 2% increase in H1 revenues compared to the same period in the previous year, despite a slight decrease (3%) in visitors due to the closure of two branches (Groningen and Schiphol).


Betsson, which was recently fined by the Netherlands Gaming Authority, still expects to be granted a license when the Dutch remote market opens.


The Amsterdam-based start-up The Great Bubble Barrier is the winner of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018, taking home €500,000 to further develop their innovative method of combating “plastic soup” in our oceans.


Greentube, part of Novomatic Interactive, has sold Netherlands-based game studio StakeLogic to a financial investor for an undisclosed amount.


Criminal proceedings relating to illegal gambling and money laundering charges have started against the owners of the now-defunct Dutch online gambling firm Bubble Group NV.


Global sports data, content and media rights distributor Perform Group has disclosed that it has picked Amsterdam as the innovation center for its DAZN sports streaming service.


The Belgian government is conducting a criminal investigation into Electronic Arts (EA) because it continues to offer loot boxes in its video games FIFA 18 and 19.


The European Casino Association (ECA) is calling for increased action at the national level against unlicensed online gambling providers.


Formula One is set to sign up betting partners around the world after announcing a new venture with Sportradar and media group Interregional Sports Group (ISG).


Italy’s online sports betting market enjoyed double-digit growth in August, with revenues rising by 27.8% year-on-year and topping €50m.


Sports betting drove Poland’s regulated gambling market in 2017, according to a new report by the country’s Ministry of Finance.


GVC Holdings has hailed “significant progress” during the first half of 2018, with the company seeing profits increase by 17% following the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral.


GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander has quashed growing concerns over increased regulation of the UK online gambling market, insisting that pessimism around the industry is unjustified.


The LeoVegas Group has acquired 51% of shares in esports betting operator Pixel Holding Group Ltd, for €1.5m.


Greek betting and lottery operator OPAP saw itsprofits jump nearly one-third in the first half of 2018.


The UK government has announced plans to prohibit gambling company sponsorship at Wembley Stadium, following its proposed £600m sale.


Evolution Gaming has partnered with the Mayfair gambling club Les Ambassadeurs to install a unique private live casino studio.


The Paris High Court of Appeals has upheld an original verdict against state-owned racing operator Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) with regards to “abusing its position of influence by enacting anti-competitive business practices.”


The Stars Group has announced the launch of its online sports betting brand, BetStars, in the state of New Jersey through its partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel.


The gaming industry contributed $261bn to the US economy in 2017, according to a study released by the American Gaming Association (AGA).