Earlier today (Thursday), the Permanent Committee for Justice and Security of the Dutch Lower House met with Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker to discuss a series of topics related to gambling policy. The main takeaways of the consultation are as follows.
1. Remote licensing
Remote operators that have been sanctioned by the Netherlands Gaming Authority for offering unlicensed games of chance to Dutch consumers will not be able to acquire a license when the online market opens, Minister Sander Dekker confirmed.
However, as a permanent exclusion might be legally disproportionate, Dekker will also ask the Gaming Authority to develop a policy that could give sanctioned operators a second chance to qualify for a remote license – albeit after an, as of yet, unspecified period of time.
2. CDA abandons opposition to gambling policy modernization… up to a point
Following its inclusion in the current government coalition, parliamentary group CDA has largely abandoned its prior opposition to gambling policy modernization. This means that there should now be majorities for the adoption of both the Remote Gaming Bill and Casino Reform Bill in the Senate.
However, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg also hinted that her group might still create some future trouble over previously adopted parliamentary motions regarding bonuses and live betting advertising that Minister Dekker had dismissed earlier as being too impractical to implement.
3. Towards one kind of lottery license?
MPs Maarten Groothuizen (D66) and Sven Koopmans (VVD) both questioned the desirability of having two kinds of lottery licenses: prize lotteries and charity lotteries. The resultant lack of a single mandatory remittance rate means that Dutch lottery operators do not compete on a level playing field.
Minister Dekker promised to send a letter to the Lower House outlining the government’s vision on the future lottery system before the 2019 summer recess.
4. Temporary gaming tax increase to stay until adoption of Remote Gaming Bill
Last year, The Dutch government introduced a temporary increase in its gaming tax rate of 1.1%, in order to cover the budget shortfall caused by the delayed implementation of the Remote Gaming Bill. Despite objections from MP Koopmans (VVD), Minister Dekker said the temporary tax increase would remain in place until six months after the enactment of the Remote Gaming Bill.
The temporary tax increase has been severely criticized by land-based slot machine operators, who will also have to wait until the second half of 2019 to learn of the government’s modernization plans for their sector, Dekker confirmed.