Netherlands Gaming Authority Asks Fellow Regulators to Cooperate on Enforcing Dutch Remote Gaming Ban

In a letter to fellow European regulators, the Netherlands Gaming Authority has asked for assistance in enforcing the current prohibition on online gaming in the Netherlands.

The request is based on the Cooperation Arrangement between the regulatory authorities of the EEA Member States concerning online gambling services, Brussels 27 November 2015.

Gaming Authority CEO Marja Appelman said she had “high hopes” that pressure brought to bear from fellow European regulators on their licensees could help convince the latter to refrain from targeting Dutch consumers.

Still, it may not be a coincidence that the regulator has decided that its foremost priority in 2018 will be to ensure that locally licensed operators, which – contrary to foreign-licensed remote operators – are firmly in the Gaming Authority’s remit, step up their efforts to keep minors away from gambling.

 

UK Gov’t Orders Operators to Change Conditions of Bonus Promotions

Following an investigation, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that certain terms in online gambling promotions and bonuses that are regularly employed by operators are likely in breach of consumer protection law:

“As part of a major overhaul of how the gambling industry operates online, three leading operators – Ladbrokes, William Hill, and PT Entertainment – have formally committed to change the way they offer bonus promotions to ensure players can always access and release their own money.

These landmark changes must now be adopted across the sector. Firms not doing so will face regulatory action from the Gambling Commission.”

The CMA also released a document titled Online gambling promotions: do’s and don’ts aimed at UK-facing operators.

 

Upcoming Events

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

  • On February 21, Dutch trade association VAN Kansspelen, in cooperation with the Netherlands Gaming Authority, will hold a meeting to discuss the Public Administration (Probity Screening) Act (Wet Bibob), with a particular focus on the Act’s impact on license applications from (prospective) land-based slot machine operators.
  • The next Slot Academy training course takes place 10-12 April in Leiden, The Netherlands. Download the course agenda here.
  • The GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards 2018, celebrating excellence in the field of regulatory compliance and responsible gambling, will be hosted at The Sheraton Grand Hotel, London – 18 April 2018.
  • It’s Better Live! Join us for the 2nd Annual Live Gaming Summit in Barcelona, which is bringing together providers, operators, experts, and other stakeholders to discuss the latest developments in the live gaming industry on 26 April, 2018 at Casino Barcelona. Check out the event’s website for more details, or contact Willem van Oort at willem@vanoort.com.
  • Early bird tickets for the Gaming Summit, the conference of the German slot machine industry, on June 14 in Berlin are now available.
  • In 2018, the iGaming Super Show, EiG and Amsterdam Affiliate Conference come together as iGB Live!, a consolidated three brand event. The first edition of iGB Live! will take place 17 – 20 July 2018 at The Amsterdam RAI.
  • The 12th EASG Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues is now scheduled for 11-14 September 2018 at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Valletta, Malta.

 

Mixed Messages on Dutch Remote Gaming Bill

Speaking at last week’s Annual Gaming Event, co-hosted by Dutch law firm Kalff Katz & Franssen and the International Masters of Gaming Law, Ministry of Justice and Security official Dennis van Breemen discussed the current state of legislative progress on the Dutch remote gaming bill.

“To anyone who has been following developments in the Netherlands from a distance, it might seem as if little has happened. But nothing could be further from the truth,” Van Breemen said.

One currently unresolved issue is the residence requirement for remote operators that was introduced in last year’s coalition agreement. Van Breemen: “The government has yet to decide what, exactly, this requirement will look like.”

One option would be that remote operators will be required to offer their services to Dutch customers from a physical premises located within the Netherlands. “A requirement with quite some impact,” Van Breemen said with a healthy dose of understatement.

In more positive news, public consultations on the secondary legislation accompanying the remote gaming bill are likely to kick off in late March or April.

It is yet uncertain, however, whether the Dutch Senate will manage to hold a vote on the bill before the summer, as was initially widely expected. This further potential delay could push back the opening of the regulated remote market until the second half of 2019, or even later.

Van Breemen: “I stopped mentioning an exact date on which we expect the remote gaming bill to come into force. I think it is proper to look at the process step by step; and to focus on achieving the first step, which is a public consultation on the secondary legislation. And also, and this is very important, continuing the debate in the Senate.”

Watch a video impression of the Kalff Katz & Franssen / IMGL Annual Gaming Event here.

 

Other News

KPMG has published its full eSummit Report, which provides an in-depth account of KPMG’s SIGMA 17 eGaming event. The 95 page report features a detailed summary of all the sessions from the day, including an overview of the Dutch online gaming market (pp. 33-37).

 

Dutch MP Ronald van Raak (SP) tabled a long list of written questions on the Netherlands’ responsibility for the offshore gambling industry on the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.

 

According to ESSA’s Annual Integrity Report, three possible cases of match-fixing were reported in the Netherlands in 2017.

 

Holland Casino is looking to hire a recruiter.

 

The municipal council of the Dutch city of Apeldoorn has narrowly approved plans for a large amusement arcade in the city’s center.

 

Merkur Gaming Netherlands will showcase its products at hospitality fair Horecava in Amsterdam.

 

Gauselmann’s Merkur Sportwetten will take a 50% share in Belgium’s leading sports betting provider BetCenter.

 

The Malta Gaming Authority has suspended the license of an online gambling operator, Phoenix International Ltd, linked to an Italian anti-mafia police action.

 

Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Malta Gaming Authority have issued a second revised Consultation Document on the application of anti-money laundering and combatting the funding of terrorism (“AML/CFT”) requirements to remote operators.

 

France’s online gambling market was firing on all cylinders in 2017, with even the much-maligned poker and horseracing verticals posting positive growth.

 

Denmark’s gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden has won a court case that will force Danish telecom firms to block 24 unapproved gaming websites.

 

“If you still think nudity and pole dancing is what will get your games sales, you are not only stuck in the past but also disrespectful,” Karolina Pelc, Casino Director at LeoVegas remarked after encountering both at suppliers’ stands at ICE Totally Gaming.

 

Steve Wynn has resigned from Wynn Resorts amid a sexual misconduct scandal.

 

Operators shouldn’t ignore unregulated markets, Playtech’s chief Mor Weizer said.

 

Paddy Power Betfair and 888 continued their efforts to scale down their respective UK affiliate programs, with both operators cutting back more partnerships.

 

Betway announced it will bring its affiliate program in-house to ensure compliance.

 

UK operator Rank Group said it has adopted a much stricter oversight of its affiliate program to ensure regulatory compliance.

 

Novomatic has linked up with Sportradar to develop a new line of sports betting products and services.

 

London based Clarion Events, organizer of ICE Totally Gaming, has completed a merger with Global Sources, a leading Asian exhibitions and online B2B marketplace operator based in Hong Kong.

 

British Columbia’s provincially-run online gambling site has launched Canada’s first government-approved live-dealer casino offering. The live casino product is provided by live dealer technology supplier Evolution Gaming, which opened a new studio in Vancouver that currently employs fifty people.