Happy 2019! Gaming in Holland wishes all our readers a wonderful, prosperous, and successful new year.

 

Appeals Court: PokerStars Players Exempt from Dutch Gambling Tax

The Appeals Court of Den Bosch has ruled that operator PokerStars is based in the EU. As a result of this finding, PokerStars players are exempt from Dutch gambling taxes.

The Dutch Revenue Service has been maintaining that PokerStars is based on the Isle of Man, which, as it is outside of the EU, would have made PokerStars players liable to pay Dutch gambling taxes over their winnings.

At present, it is not yet clear whether the Revenue Service will appeal the court’s decision to the Dutch Supreme Court.

 

Will Dutch Licensing Requirements Be Too Strict?

The prison sentences handed to three former heads of Bubble Group, an Eindhoven-based illegal online operator, “highlights how tough the Netherlands is wont to be on gambling infringements,” Gambling consultants Regulus Partners observe:

“This is likely to be put to a very significant test should point-of-consumption online regulations ever regain momentum […] – especially in terms of what constitutes ‘bad actor’    behaviour and how strictly (and for how long) this will be applied. Given the number of operators which have taken and arguably directly ‘enticed’ Dutch players, this list could be long and high profile (with Betsson, Bet-at-home, Mr Green and William Hill all recently fined, for example).”

It should be noted, however, that the heads of Bubble Group were not only convicted of offering remote gambling services without a license, but also of participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, fraud, and forgery.

While administrative (rather than criminal) fines, as well as subsequent exclusion from the Dutch market, are certainly to be expected in certain cases, additional criminal prosecutions appear not particularly likely.

Still, there exists a real risk that, in order to regain political momentum, extremely strict, perhaps even unworkable licensing requirements will be introduced that will make it impossible for a large number of major operators to legally enter the regulated Dutch market.

The question thus certainly remains whether overly harsh requirements will, in fact, contribute to a flourishing regulated market in which as many players as possible are optimally protected from gambling-related harm.

 

Upcoming Events

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

  • The EGR webinar “Identifying at-risk gambling behaviours using predictive modelling” will take place Monday 14 January 2019, 02:30pm GMT / 03:30pm CET. Find out more here.
  • Now in its second year, the Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators Conference is designed to help gambling operators effectively manage issues around problem gambling and player protection, avoid regulatory action, improve public opinion and increase customer loyalty. The conference is scheduled to take place 23 January in London.
  • Betting on Sports America is the largest sports betting conference & exhibition in the US, featuring 175 leading industry speakers across 40 sessions. The event is scheduled to take place 23 – 25 April, 2019 in New York/New Jersey.
  • The GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2019, which celebrate excellence in compliance and responsible gambling initiatives, will be awarded on 1 May, 2019, at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London.
  • 115+ speakers already confirmed their attendence at the World Gaming Executive Summit, 2-4 July 2019 in Barcelona.
  • The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) is officially calling for speakers for its 2019 Annual Conference to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica from 30 September to 3 October 2019. Submissions are due by 1 February.

 

Save the Date: Gaming in Holland/Leaseweb Business Drinks @ICE 2019

On Tuesday February 5, 16:30 – 18:30, Gaming in Holland and Leaseweb will co-host networking drinks to give ICE attendees the opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the Dutch gaming market.

Earlier that day, the Dutch Senate will have debated the Remote Gaming Bill and Casino Reform Bill in preparation for a final vote, currently scheduled for the subsequent week on February 12.

2019 looks like it is finally going to be the year when remote gaming regulation comes to the Netherlands. Make sure to don’t miss a thing!

The GiH/Leaseweb get-together will take place inside the Excel Centre. Please drop by on your way out to dinner or some other meeting. Everybody is welcome!

More details to follow soon.

This year’s Gaming in Holland gathering at ICE is also made possible by our other strategic partners: Holland Casino, Janshen-Hahnraths Group, JVH Gaming & Entertainment Group, Lottovate, Novomatic Netherlands, and Fonds Gehandicaptensport.

 

Holland Party at ICE

Eurocoin Gaming, part of the Novomatic Group, will host its customary London Holland Party on Wednesday February 6, 18:00 – 21:00, in the Top 1 Forever Restaurant, 17 Western Gateway, Excel Marina.

 

Other News

Industry watcher Meneer Casino has taken a peek in its crystal ball and came up with these five predictions for 2019.

 

The Netherlands Gaming Authorityhas issued a record €1.7m in fines to unlicensed operators in 2018.

 

The government of Curaçaoannounced it will increase its oversight of the large number of remote operators based on the island.

 

Minors are particularly susceptible to gambling addiction, endowed professor of addiction studies Anneke Goudriaan explains in this interview with The Netherlands Gaming Authority.

 

The governance of Zeal Network, owner of Dutch charity lottery Raffld, has responded to the open letter published by Lottoland CEO, Nigel Birrell urging Zeal shareholders to reject the firm’s approved takeover of German competitor Lotto24 AG.

 

Sweden’s regulated online gaming market has opened for business, with 60 companies already licensed by the country’s gambling regulator.

 

However, two license holders in the newly-regulated Swedish iGaming market have been accused by the Spelinspektionen of allowing people who have signed up to the regulator’s self-exclusion scheme to continue accessing gambling websites. According to the regulator, 10,000 individuals have already blocked themselves from accessing the country’s new online gambling licensees.

 

The first online casino licenses issued in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein are starting to expire. At present, it is unclear whether new licenses will be granted.

 

The German state of Hesse has vowed to go it alone on gambling legislation if a new federal pact can’t be reached by the end of 2019.

 

As of January 1, Italy-facing online operatorswill be hit with a raft of new taxes.

 

Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden has claimed in a new report that it is succeeding in reducing the size of the country’s illegal gambling market.

 

Long-awaited reforms of Ireland’s gambling laws could be fast-tracked this year, with two separate bills set to be published within weeks.

 

Following the example of Barclays Bank, three of the UK’s biggest banking groups are considering introducing new tools for clients that would allow them to block debit card transactions to certain sectors, including gambling.

 

Ladbrokes Coral has re-introduced its affiliate program in partnership with Income Access.

 

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has launched the first of its two-phase Sandbox Framework for the acceptance of Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) and the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) within the gaming industry.

 

Greek gaming operator OPAP Group has agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Stoiximan Group’s Greek and Cypriot operations for a total consideration of €94.86m.

 

Slovakia’s president has vetoed his country’s new gambling regime, which would have opened up the online market to international operators for the first time.

 

Playtech has struck a €28m tax agreement with Israeli authorities in relation to certain activities carried out in Israel between 2008 and 2017.

 

The Romanian government has introduced an additional 2% monthly turnover tax for online gambling operators licensed in the country.

 

The National Football League (NFL) has confirmed an agreement for Caesars Entertainment to become the league’s first-ever Official Casino Sponsor.