Dutch Coalition Parties Reach Strangely-Timed Agreement on Sports Betting Regulation

Ruling coalition parties VVD and PvdA claim to have reached an agreement on (online) sports betting regulation, consisting of two amendments to the proposed remote gambling bill currently under consideration by the Dutch House of Representatives.

In order to combat matchfixing, the first amendment prohibits betting on amateur matches as well as side bets on events that may be easily controlled by a single individual (e.g., yellow cards in soccer, double faults in tennis). Betting on halftime scores or total number of goals scored, however, will be allowed.

The second amendment mandates operators to report suspicious betting patterns to the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit of the Netherlands Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit).

Both NOC*NSF, the overall coordinating Dutch sports organization, and KNVB, the Dutch football association, have expressed satisfaction with the proposals.

Nonetheless, the agreement and its timing raise a number of questions.

Earlier, State Secretary Dijkhoff of Security and Justice promised the House of Representatives to answer its second round of questions regarding the proposed remote gaming bill “around the middle of November at the latest.” Contrary to Dijkhoff’s promise, these answers have not yet been provided. This week’s “agreement” is also rather meager, to say the least. Could it simply be meant as a diversion from having to announce new delays at the department of Security and Justice?

To add insult to injury, sports law researcher Ben van Rompuy claims that the proposed prohibitions on certain side bets are unlikely to be effective at all: “In case of national restrictions, players will simply move to foreign operators. Similar bans in Spain and Italy have already failed.”

Furthermore, Eric Konings, sports betting integrity officer at Unibet, feels that operators should be more closely involved in reporting and combating matchfixing, pointing toward the successful cooperation between operators, regulators and sports associations in the UK.


Should Sports Financing Be Dependent on a Single State-Owned Gaming Company?

In the Netherlands, national sports financing is closely connected to the profits of lottery provider De Lotto, which is currently set to merge with the Dutch State Lottery. Marcel Wintels, president of the cycling union KNWU, wonders whether this financing model remains sustainable in an increasingly globalized gaming market.

In other words, should sport associations remain financially dependent on a single state-owned operator at the same time the Dutch government is looking to divest its lottery and gambling participations? There just might be a better and more viable alternative. Read all about it here.


Portuguese Gambling Compliance Briefing Looks at European Context

Taking place in Lisbon on December 1st, the Portuguese Gambling Compliance Briefing will look at the country’s legislation in the wider European context and focus on some of the key regulatory issues affecting European operators in 2015 and beyond.

Gaming in Holland will attend this conference in order to personally investigate the current condition of a regulated online market (They could do it!) and report back next week. Stay tuned!

Also of note: Pieter Remmers, secretary general of the European Association for the Study of Gambling and CEO of Assissa, (and undoubtedly well-known to many of our readers) will speak at the briefing.


Other News

Playtech’s plans to expand into financial trading took a pair of body blows: not only did its proposed merger with CFD broker Plus500 fall through, its Ava Trade acquisition was also terminated.


The organizers of ICE are expecting the largest ever attendance of international gaming regulators, including members of including IAGA, IAGR, ECA and NCF, to February’s event (2nd, 3rd & 4th: ExCeL Centre, London).


The Dutch trade association of online gaming operators Speel Verantwoord and VAN, the association of land-based slot machine operators, have gone back and forth on sports financing and tax rates.


NYX Gaming Group partners with operator 888.


Last but not least, Meneer Casino offers an interesting piece on the history of blackjack.