IBIA & bet365 advise Dutch government to drop in-play limitations

A diverse range of betting stakeholders have advised the Dutch government not to restrict betting markets and instead implement sensible in-play wagering policies, as the Netherlands prepares to launch its regulated online gambling marketplace in 2021.

Industry submissions have been made public as the Dutch government concludes its consultation on draft laws intended to govern remote gambling services.

Seventeen industry submissions have been published, in which the majority of stakeholders underline concerns on prohibited bet types enforced on licensed online sportsbook operators.

This February, the Dutch government published the draft framework of it’s ‘Remote Gambling Bill’ aiming to modernise the Netherlands regulatory frameworks for online gambling services.

In relation to sports betting, Dutch policymakers have undertaken a number of in-play wagering restrictions on the basis of protecting sports and athlete integrity.

These restrictions include prohibiting licensed bookmakers from offering head-to-head bets and a significant reduction ‘in-play event ’ bet-types for football and tennis markets such as next throw-in, foul, corner or points betting offered on a tennis match.

European industry trade body, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), submitted a challenge of the wagering restrictions, detailing that Dutch government restrictions were baseless as they would not serve to protect sports integrity concerns.

With regards to tennis, the IBIA details that the market is dominated by ‘80% of bets placed through in-play wagering’, a dynamic which should be recognised by Dutch authorities as they seek to implement an effective framework by 2021.

The IBIA warns policymakers, that restrictions to football and tennis markets will simply add the strain of monitoring national consumers who may choose to wager with unlicensed bookmakers operating complete live betting functionalities.

“The importance of meeting the needs of modern-day consumers in a globally competitive marketplace should not be underestimated” The IBIA states “It is important to recognise that these markets are very popular, especially in the growing in-play product range,”

The IBIA’s concerns are shared by bet365, which advises the Dutch government to offer the ‘widest possible product range on sports betting’, which in-turn will allow integrity stakeholders to develop the most comprehensive collaboration framework for catching bad actors.

“Unless the authorities allow operators to offer the widest possible product range, it will become increasingly difficult to capture and report on suspicious betting activity throughout the regulated market,” warns bet365.

As leading European online bookmaker, bet365 underlines that the Dutch government will be better served by developing cooperative reporting frameworks and procedures between sportbooks and national agencies.

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