SBC News Weerwind out of Dutch politics as new coalition takes charge of KOA reforms
Franc Weerwind

Weerwind out of Dutch politics as new coalition takes charge of KOA reforms

The formation of a new four-party coalition government in the Netherlands has brought sweeping changes across government departments.  

As expected the change sees Franc Weerwind removed from his position as Minister of Legal Protections, overseeing the regulatory reform of Dutch gambling under the laws of the Remote Gambling Act (KOA). 

Engaged in six months of negotiations, the Party for Freedom (PPV) led by populist Geert Wilders, secured its majority in the Kamer, ending the Netherlands political stalemate by agreeing governing terms with conservative counterparts the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the New Social Contract Party (NSC) and the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB). 

A fragile ‘conservative alliance’ has been established on the condition that Wilders will not serve as Prime Minister with the seat reserved for ‘Wilders-endorsed’, non-populist Dick Scoof – who ends PM Mark Rutte’s 14-year premiership as Dutch PM. 

With the leadership agreement settled, the four parties have begun to divide the roles of government to be distributed across party ranks. 

As per media outlet CasinoNieuws.nl, which has in turn cited the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the four parties have agreed on the Ministerial roles in the new Kamer formation. 

SBC News Weerwind out of Dutch politics as new coalition takes charge of KOA reforms
Wilders on X: “We’re out! Agree on everything! A new cabinet.”

Five of the Ministries will be headed by members of the PPV, including the newly-formed Ministry of Asylum and Migration. VVD and NSC will each be given four ministers under the Scoof cabinet, while only two Ministries will fall under the control of BBB.

Overall, the 15 ministerial posts to serve under the new mandate are less than those in the former Rutte cabinet. 

Of significance , the Kamer shakeup will drop the Minister for Legal Protection role, which was responsible for organising the Dutch gambling policies since the launch of the KOA market in October 2022. Weerwind, who has held the position since January 2022, will also be leaving The Hague. 

Instead, gambling will be put under the control of the newly-introduced Secretary of State for Legal Protection, which role will be filled by NSC, NOS has reported. 

The Ministry of Justice, under which the Secretary of State for Legal Protection will serve, has been reserved for VVD. 

KOA restructure still on the agenda 

Regulatory developments continue to see the Kamer debate further reforms to the KOA market, with ministers supporting reformist motions to implement an outright ban on gambling advertising and a ban on ‘high-risk’ games (slots).

Despite pressure to apply motions, Minister Weerwind maintained the planned agenda of KOA reforms, in which the government seeks to introduce compulsory monthly financial risk checks for player accounts that spend over €350.

Further protections endorsed by the Ministry of Justice will see the KOA market introduce a loss limit, applied to a €150 spending restriction on the gambling accounts of customers under the age of 24.

However, industry concerns were raised in May, as the coalition’s negotiations on budgetary affairs saw the quartet of parties agree on provisional terms to increase gambling taxes from 30.5% to 37.8%. 

Marked down as a ‘structural increase,’ the budget detailed “an increase in gambling tax from 30.5% to 37.8%” as the new government seeks to raise additional yearly tax revenues of +€200m.

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