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Newsletter - Netherlands Gambling Authority warns online operators over insufficient AML compliance

New speakers announced for 2022 GiH Conference & Expo

Don't miss the 2022 Gaming in Holland Conference & Expo on June 20-21 at Jaarbeurs Utrecht!

As always, this year's GiH Conference & Expo will feature regulators, experts, and key decision makers to help you make sense of what happened and what to expect for the future.

The 2022 GiH Conference will be accompanied by a fully-fledged product exhibition specifically aimed at the Dutch market.

This year's confirmed conference speakers include:

  • René Jansen, Chair, Netherlands Gambling Authority

  • Niels Onkenhout, CEO, Nederlandse Loterij

  • Eric Olders, CEO, JVH gaming & entertainment group

  • Justin Franssen, Head of the Gaming & Gambling Practice Group, Kalff Katz & Franssen

  • Peter-Paul de Goeij, MD, Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA)

  • Feite Hofman, Founder, Pas Op Gamen en Gokken

Additional speakers will be announced soon!

Registration is now open:

Dutch government publishes new advertising rules

The Dutch government has now published its updated rules regarding the use of professional athletes and other role models in gambling advertising.

The new rules will enter into force from July 1, 2022.

Loot boxes and Dutch gambling law

A Dutch video games and esports lawyer has analyzed the implications of a recent ruling by the Council of State on the permissibility of loot boxes in video games.

The analysis finds that:

“The fact that the Dutch gambling laws are not applicable to games of chance that form an inseparable part of a game of skill is not new. This had already been ruled by the Dutch Supreme Court in 1991.
What is actually new is the assessment criterion that to determine whether a loot box is an inseparable part of a game of skill, it must be looked at how the game is played by the vast majority of players. If this criterion is also used by the Dutch State Council in the future, this means that the actual in-game economy will be of high importance when assessing the legality of loot boxes.
According to this decision, it seems that loot boxes are not subject to Dutch gambling laws if the following cumulative criteria are met:
  1. The loot boxes are part of a (competitive) video game where the winner of said video game is decided by skill

  2. The loot boxes are obtained and opened in the digital environment of this video game

  3. The loot boxes can (also) be earned by playing the video game

  4. The vast majority of the loot boxes are obtained by playing the video game (and there is not a situation where players buy loot boxes on a large scale for the sole reason to sell the contents thereof)”

Belgium to consider higher minimum age for sports betting

Belgium's cross-departmental working group “Algemene Cel Drugsbeleid” has recently released a set of recommendations to limit gambling-related harm.

The list of recommendations includes:

  • More effective intervention messaging

  • Further restrictions on, as well as an eventual prohibition of gambling-related influencer marketing

  • Investigating the possibility of cross-operator deposit limits

  • Increasing the minimum age for sports betting to 21

  • Additional restrictions on (the number of) land-based gambling venues

The full report is available here.

MGM Resort launches $607m bid to acquire LeoVegas

MGM Resorts has tabled a public tender offer for all of LeoVegas’ shares at a price of SEK61 per share, 44% above Friday's closing price. The total value of the deal is approximately $607m.

LeoVegas’ board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the offer.

MGM Resorts’ CEO & President Bill Hornbuckle commented: “We have achieved remarkable success with BetMGM in the US, and with the acquisition of LeoVegas in Europe we will expand our online gaming presence globally. We believe that this offer creates a compelling opportunity that allows the combined teams of MGM Resorts and LeoVegas to accelerate our global digital gaming growth and fully realize the potential of our omnichannel strategy.”

Upcoming events

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

  • On May 10 at 11:00 CEST, The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) will host a free online presentation about the monitoring of gambling engagement and problem gambling in Europe.

  • Dutch game supplier Eurocoin Gaming will hold open house on May 11-12 in Waalwijk.

  • The annual members’ meeting of trade association VAN Kansspelen will take place on May 12, also in Waalwijk.

  • EASG 2022, the 13th European Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues, has now been scheduled for 6-9 September 2022, and will take place in Oslo, Norway.

Netherlands Gambling Authority warns online operators over insufficient AML compliance

Following an investigation into operators’ compliance with the Netherlands’ Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act (Wwft), the Dutch gambling regulator (KSA) issued a warning to all licensed online operators, calling their compliance with AML and CFT regulations insufficient.

According to the Dutch regulator, operators are insufficiently committed to investigating the origins of player finances. Checks are only routinely carried out when players make deposits (far) in excess of €2,500, the average net monthly salary in the country, the KSA claimed.

The regulator furthermore said that not all unusual transactions (e.g., transactions in excess of €15,000) are reported in a timely manner to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for the Netherlands, despite them being obliged to do so.

Based on the findings of its investigation, the KSA said that two licensees will be further investigated.

Other news

Betting operator TOTO has ended its sponsorship of Dutch TV show “Vandaag Inside,” after one of the hosts admitted having sexually assaulted an unconscious woman close to fifty years ago.

Following a search lasting several weeks, the lucky winner of a €12.8m Dutch State Lottery prize has finally been identified.

Recent research found that the UK's safer gambling slogan “When the Fun Stops, Stop” only had a 2% effectiveness in preventing further gambling online.

Flutter Entertainment recorded a modest decline in non-US revenue in Q1 2022, reflecting the impact of the company's temporary market exit from the Netherlands, tax changes in Germany, and the effects of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Brazil has published its soon-to-be-launched sports betting regulations.

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