Excellence in iGaming (EiG), 22 October 2014
“Quickfire Update on Dutch regulatory progress”
Ms Marja APPELMAN
Chief Executive of The Netherlands Gaming Authority
Thank you, Daniel, and thank you, Excellence in iGaming, for the opportunity you give me, and The Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA), to take part in this speed update session on developments in the field of iGaming.
Giving me this opportunity is a clear expression of the fact that there is something going on in the field of gaming and gambling in The Netherlands. And it is about time!
Our Betting and Gaming Act was approved by Parliament 50 years ago, in 1964. Just as far away from us today as 2064! Neither the regulator of 1964, nor we, are capable of predicting how the world will look like in 50 years time. Therefore, obviously, the development of the Internet and subsequently the use of the Internet for gambling wasn’t taken into account. Nowadays, online gambling has become one of the most popular types of gambling. Modernization of the Betting and Gaming Act is, therefore, necessary.
Ladies en gentlemen,
“Quickfire Update on Dutch regulatory progress”, the title that has been given to my presentation, refers both to (1) the progress with regard to the regulatory modernization (the Online Gambling Bill) as well as (2) the progress that NGA as a regulator is making in preparation of that modernization.I will go into both elements.
But first, ladies and gentlemen, grab a pen! and write down the date of 1 December 2014! I will explain myself later. Allright, (1) first of all, the progress with regard to the Online Gambling Bill. You might know that the Online Gambling Bill (a draft law) has been sent to Parliament in July. The legislative process of taking a Bill through Parliament hasn’t begun yet; the Bill will be discussed in both Houses of Parliament in the coming months. So, amendments may lead to changes. Nevertheless, perhaps you will allow me to draw your attention to a few elements of the Bill.
The Online Gaming Bill that is proposed to Parliament, aims at consolidating current and future needs for online gambling into a responsible, verifiable and reliable selection of games of chance. It enables the provision of online games of chance in The Netherlands, provided that a license has been obtained. The Bill states who can apply for a license: every company that operates from an EU or EEA Member State. Third country companies can apply if that country is on the EU list of countries that provide sufficient protection with regard to 1) the prevention of addiction, 2) consumer protection and 3) the prevention of fraud and other crimes. The Bill gives the NGA additional enforcement powers, for example to block access to websites and internet traffic to parties that promote or facilitate illegal online gambling or to block payments.
Ladies and gentlemen, That concludes the first part of my presentation.
Now I would like to highlight the progress that NGA as a regulator is making in preparation of the modernization of the gaming and gambling market in The Netherlands.
As you can imagine, coming from 1964, lots of work has to be done. Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And that is why we, in preparation of the coming into force of new legislation, work closely together – and we will intensify this cooperation – with foreign colleague-regulators and with organizations like the European Union and the Council of Europe.
At the moment our preparatory work focusses on 3 main points:
1. Licensing requirements for online gambling licenses;
2. Combatting illegal online gambling;
3. Combatting and prevention of problem (online) gambling.
(Ad 1.) With regard to the first focal point, licensing requirements:
As I said, the Bill gives clarity on whom can obtain a license. However, the Bill doesn’t give clarity on the licensing requirements, such as operations, liability, prevention of problem gambling, professional qualities.
Our public goals are the starting point for our licensing requirements. We will keep administrative burdens as low as possible for the provider, and we appreciate the opinions of providers. Because of that, we will prepare a public consultation in due course, probably starting in January. Your input is very useful to us.
For those of you who have written down the date of 1 December 2014, please listen carefully now:
-Operators who are interested in obtaining a license for remote gambling are invited to inform us about that, as from 1 December 2014;
-That will enable us to getting to know those operators;
-we will have a look at their websites;
-and we will inform those operators about the state of play with regard to the licensing process.
You will find all the details about this on our website soon.
Then the second focal point, combatting illegal online gambling: The Bill gives the NGA additional powers in this regard, for example to block access to illegal websites and payments. In preparation of the coming into force of those powers, we have agreed on far-reaching cooperation with financial institutions. We have set up an agreement on combatting illegal online gambling. I am proud of this alliance between NGA and several Payment Service Providers, MasterCard, and all banks that are active in The Netherlands. The effect of this agreement is that Dutch consumers can neither make payments to illegal websites nor receive their wins. Besides this alliance, we also have excellent working relationships with Facebook and Twitter. That allows us to combat illegal content on the major social media effectively.
(Ad 3.) Then, concluding the second part of my presentation, the third focal point in our preparation of the coming into force of new legislation: Combatting and prevention of problem (online) gambling.
I would like to point out that the Bill is based on an approach of progressive intervention and care with regard to the prevention of gambling addiction and the protection of consumers.
Operators will have a legal responsibility to monitor and analyse the behaviour of their customers, both online ánd offline, and to timely intervene in harmful gambling behaviour. The Bill provides in a Central Exclusion Register and an Addiction Fund (that will be used to finance prevention and research).
|In addition to this, NGA intends to play a coordinating role in promoting responsible gaming and gambling. To that end, a platform will be organised on a regularly basis, in which NGA, operators and social partners will work on common ambitions and strategies with the aim of minimalizing the risks of gambling addiction.
To that end, a platform will be organised on a regularly basis, in which NGA, operators and social partners will work on common ambitions and strategies with the aim of minimalizing the risks of gambling addiction.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am reaching towards the end of this quickfire update.
Hopefully, I made clear that all is in the hands of our Parliament. In preparation of the coming into force of new legislation, we are focusing on three main points and we will work out the licensing requirements. In the meantime, we will combat unlawful gaming and gambling and we will stimulate lawful offer and responsible gaming. Please remember the date of 1 December 2014. If you are interested in obtaining a license for remote gambling, you are invited to inform us about that.
It may well be the case that my presentation contains further food for thought. I certainly look forward to discussing this further with you.