Following nearly two years of parliamentary debate, the Dutch Lower House has today pushed through the ‘Netherlands Online Gambling Bill’ seeking to regulate and license industry services.
Dutch industry stakeholders now expect the online gambling bill to be rubber-stamped by the Dutch Senate, with online gambling regulation set to be implemented by early 2017.
The online gambling bill has navigated a rough road to existence, following numerous reviews and amendments by Dutch Democratic and Labour parties stating concerns regarding industry taxes, licensing, advertising standards, impacts to land-based operators and concerns relating to sports integrity.
The constant delays faced by the Dutch online gambling bill, had forced European Union representatives to warn regulators of continued stalling regarding industry legislation and of creating unclear business conditions for potential market entrants.
In its 2015 market update Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit, stated that it had received confirmation of market interest from over 100 European gambling operators. It remains to be seen whether international gambling operators will commit to the market, following the approval of the bill
Agreed amendments of the bill, will prohibit lotteries and land-based operators from using their existing player databases to promote their online offerings. Furthermore, international online gambling operators, will not be forced to have a land-based presence of some form within the Netherlands. Additionally, all Dutch licensed gambling operators will have to contribute to a national problem gambling fund.
Jasper Hoekert, co-founder of Revenue Engineers,a full-service gaming consultancy based in the Netherlands, welcomed the bill stating;
“We are absolutely delighted to see the Dutch Remote Gaming Bill finally pass through parliament.
“While there are some aspects of the legislation which are not ideal, this is still a very workable framework and I am confident that the Netherlands will quickly emerge as one of Europe’s most important gaming jurisdictions.