Responding to the publication of the draft General Administrative Order (AMvB) on remote gambling regulation earlier this week, Dutch online trade association Speel Verantwoord (SSV) said that it felt “encouraged” that the document had finally been sent to both the Lower House and Senate for parliamentary consultation.

Asked to comment on the published regulations, SSV managing director Peter-Paul de Goeij noted that the current version of the AMvB contained only moderate changes compared to the version that had been made available for public consultation:

Most notably the ban on offering bets on matches that are of no significance to the outcome of a competition (e.g. practice games of national teams) has been dropped. The Ministry of Justice and Security also further explained the advertising ban during live matches.

In any case, SSV fervently hopes that the consultation in parliament will be swift and constructive so that the Remote Gaming Act and accompanying regulations can come into force as planned on January 1, 2021. The protection of Dutch consumers who gamble online is of the utmost importance and long overdue.

The Ministry also responded to various motions in parliament. SSV agrees with the Minister that advertising plays a vital role in channelling players to a regulated offering and that a ban on advertising is neither warranted nor helpful. We agree, however, that gambling advertising should be moderate. We are thus committed to work together with the industry and outside stakeholders to agree on a new advertising code for online gambling; and also explore possibilities of moderating gambling advertising through self regulation.

Gaming lawyer Alan Littler of Kalff Katz & Franssen added that the extension of the cooling-off period by an extra six months came as no surprise and “essentially reflects the delays which have already occurred in terms of the Act entering into force, and thus the licensing process opening for business.”

Littler was less sanguine, however, with regard to the current timetable, noting the possibility that opponents of gambling reform in parliament could still succeed in causing further delays:

Official expectations are that the Act will enter into force on 1 January 2021, and the publication of the AMvB is a big step in the right direction. Whilst January 2021 isn’t impossible, it also isn’t certain. Much will depend upon how parliament will respond to the AMvB in the weeks ahead.