On 31 May, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security held an information session at Hotel Babylon in The Hague on the secondary legislation that is to accompany the Remote Gaming Bill. Below, we will discuss the current state of affairs with regard to the Remote Gaming Bill, including some potential sticking points contained in the secondary legislation.

The Remote Gaming Bill – where we are now

The Dutch Lower House passed the Remote Gaming Bill in July 2016. The bill was then taken up for consideration by the Senate. In May 2017, the Senate Permanent Committee of Justice and Security submitted written questions on the proposed bill to the government. As of yet, these questions remain unanswered.

In March 2017, elections were also held for the Dutch Lower House, followed in October 2017 by the swearing-in of a new government coalition. The coalition agreement between the four government parties VVD, D66 (strong proponents of the original bill), and CDA and CU (strong opponents of the original bill) stated the following:

When granting remote gaming licenses, one license condition shall be that the operator will be in some way established in the Netherlands. In implementing the government’s overall gambling policy, special attention will be given to reducing gambling addiction and the existing policy with regard to remittances to sports and good causes will not be affected.

At present, the government is still discussing how to concretely implement this agreement in amended regulations or legislation, Dennis van Breemen, Program Manager Gaming Policy at the Ministry of Justice and Security, confirmed.

“The Ministry’s intention is to implement these new conditions in the secondary legislation, so that an amended bill will not have to pass the Lower House a second time,” Van Breemen added. “Apart from these additional elements, the secondary legislation is virtually complete.” Once finished, the secondary legislation will also be subject to a full public consultation.

Flexible and future-proof… but lacking clarity

The proposed secondary legislation has been designed to be both technologically neutral and future-proof, offering considerable discretion to the Netherlands Gaming Authority to set precise standards and conditions.

In itself, there is little that is surprising about the secondary legislation as presented, but, on occasion, the lack of clarity felt jarring, according to some information session attendees.

“Supposedly, advertising may only be aimed at those already interested in games of chance,” Rutger-Jan Hebben, Director of trade association Speel Verantwoord, said. “But what does this requirement mean, specifically? Are billboards in public spaces off limits? What about TV commercials on a public broadcaster’s channel? Quite a few of the proposed rules create confusion, rather than offering clarity.”

Rules surrounding bonuses equally lack sufficient exactness. While bonuses may not be tailored to an individual’s playing behavior, operators are still allowed to offer different bonuses to different groups of players. But when, exactly, becomes player behavior too individual to be matched to a specific bonus offer?

Answers at the GiH Conference?

At the upcoming GiH Conference in Amsterdam, officials from the Ministry of Justice and Security will respond to feedback from the industry.

If you would like to ask your follow-up questions, join us on 19 June, at 2:10 pm at the session “Secondary Legislation: Government Meets Industry.”