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Ministry of Justice: Customer database purge expected of previously unlicensed online operators

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

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CRUKS (“Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen”) is the Dutch national player exclusion database.

As a licensed operator, it will be your responsibility to ensure that players registered in CRUKS are prevented from accessing your game offering.

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  • Tune in for the IMGL webinar “A sustainable response to Covid-19" on May 21 at 17:00 CET.

  • The Gaming in EU webinar series continues May 27 at 16:00 CET with the Gaming in Spain webinar “A perfect storm? How to move forward in Spain’s new iGaming environment.”

Ministry of Justice: Customer database purge expected of previously unlicensed online operators

Last week, the Dutch Ministry of Justice published its long-awaited response to written parliamentary questions on the remote gaming secondary legislation.

Remote Gaming Act still expected to come into force on January 1, 2021

Although the government said that the possibility of “some delay in the implementation process as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic” could not be entirely ruled out, no such postponements are currently expected. “The government remains fully committed to the entry into force of the Remote Gaming Act on January 1, 2021,” Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker said.

Moreover, based on the written questions and subsequent responses by the Ministry, there seems little reason to expect further delay for political reasons.

The Permanent Committee for Justice and Security of the Dutch Lower House will discuss the Ministry of Justice’s response during a procedural meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 20 to determine whether Parliamentary follow-up action will be required.

Previously unlicensed operators required to purge customer database

However, one major surprise in the Ministry's response was the new stipulation that prospective licensees will be required to purge their customer database of those players that signed up while online gambling was illegal in the Netherlands:

“Operators who, before the Remote Gaming Act came into effect, offered online games of chance in the Netherlands without a license, and who nevertheless, after an thorough reliability assessment by the Netherlands Gambling Authority, acquired a remote gaming license, may not utilize their existing customer database of players in the Netherlands to offer online gambling services under the terms of said license.”

The Ministry offered the following justification for this new provision:

“This customer database, after all, was filled during a period in which remote games of chance were not regulated in the Netherlands, and without taking into account the new strict rules regarding, among other things, gambling advertising and player recruitment, the assessment of players during registration, and the rules regarding problem gambling prevention. Thus, the existing database therefore does not meet the requirements of the new regulations and, therefore, should not be used.”

As currently phrased, this new provision will apply equally to the land-based incumbents. The Netherlands Gambling Authority will be tasked to capture this provision in specific licensing conditions.

The new rule is likely to be a severe blow to the Netherlands-facing affiliate sector.

Stakeholder reactions

Bert Bakker, former MP and Partner at Meines Holla & Partners:

“The Parliamentary questions showed there exist widespread concerns among MPs that the current Covid-19 crisis will lead to an increase in illegal online gambling among Dutch consumers. As the answers were clearly designed to address prevailing concerns and remove remaining objections, I think it is a very positive sign that the Minister for Legal Protection stated that the best way to address this issue is to regulate the online market as quickly as possible.”

Peter-Paul de Goeij, Managing Director of trade association Speel Verantwoord:

“First and foremost, we welcome the fact that the next necessary step toward the opening of the regulated online market has been taken. We simply cannot afford any further delay.

Already, it will be a challenge to meet the player channelization targets that were set when the Remote Gaming Bill was first introduced in 2013.

Regarding the new requirement to purge operators’ customer databases, we would like to note that most prospective online gambling licensees are presently active in strictly regulated European online gambling markets and already maintain a high duty of care. Under this new stipulation, any player risk profile, including product blocks, playing limits, as well as registered cases of fraud, will have to be removed. This measure therefore appears to be at odds with the most important rationale for the regulation of the online gambling market in the Netherlands: player protection. It also contradicts the recent instruction from government to operators to apply age verification at registration to ensure that minors cannot access the online gambling services.

Nonetheless, Speel Verantwoord remains fully committed to working with the Ministry, the Netherlands Gambling Authority, and all other stakeholders to ensure that player channelization and responsible gambling targets are not put in jeopardy and that the regulated Dutch online market will become a success.”

Other news

An online petition urging the Dutch government to open land-based casinos on June 1 has, at the time of writing, garnered 3,556 signatures.

The Netherlands Gambling Authority reported an apparent increase in the number of illegal poker tournaments.

Online gambling rates in Denmark have declined during a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of novel coronavirus, according to data from the country’s Gaming Authority (Spillemyndigheden).

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has admitted the government’s suggested deposit and bonus limits would reduce channelization to licensed sites and lower consumer protection standards.

The UK Gambling Commission has issued new guidance for online operators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GVC will give customers the ability to set stake limits on online slots in the coming weeks as part of increased responsible gambling measures in the time of the coronavirus.

In April, UK households spent 25% less on gambling than in previous months due to the Covid-19 crisis.

LeoVegas AB has launched a Swedish public awareness campaign promoting safe play with licensed online gambling incumbents.

Admiral Sportwetten, a brand operated by Novomatic subsidiary Löwen Entertainment, has announced that it will withdraw from the German retail betting market, blaming years of regulatory stasis for the move.

Shares in DraftKings jumped 7.5% on Tuesday after it was revealed billionaire investor George Soros holds a $66m stake in the US sports betting operator.


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