Netherlands submits online gambling legislation to European Commission

Netherlands submits online gambling legislation to European Commission

Ahead of the expected opening up of online gambling in the Netherlands next year, the country’s government has submitted the Remote Gambling Act to the European Commission (EC).

The EC will now decide whether or not the legislation is in line with the laws of the European Union (EU)

Interested parties and stakeholders are also now being invited to share their opinions on the country’s proposed regulations. 

Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker has already approved the legislation.

Operators to be required to build databases from scratch 

All operators will be banned from using player databases that existed before the regulation of online gambling in the Netherlands. Dekker had said in May that his department would enforce this. This particular rule is designed to prevent operators who have served players in the Dutch market without a licence from gaining an upper hand. 

Operators that obtain a licence will be obliged to keep a control database within the Netherlands. On top of this, their servers will need to be based either there or within another EU member state – or the country in which they are headquartered. 

Amendments to the Gambling Tax Act and other bills related to remote gaming have also been submitted for review. 

To curve potential issues related to problem gambling, companies will have to adhere to a number of procedures. Each individual operator must develop and implement their own policy to highlight how they plan to prevent addiction. Moreover, players’ gambling behaviours must be monitored and credit limits will be mandatory. Users have the power to opt out of receiving bonus offers, which will be restricted anyway. 

Operators will also need to deal with restrictions related to marketing. Between 6am and 9pm, no gambling-related services can be advertised. In the latest round of questions related to the Remote Gambling Act, Dekker also said that he expects operators not to advertise in an excessive manner. 

There might be delays to the regulation of online gambling in the Netherlands 

The Remote Gambling Act was passed by the Dutch Upper House in February, four years after the Lower House had done likewise. It’s hoped by the country’s government that the regulation can become official in January 2021, before the gambling framework is implemented in July. 

Due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Dekker has warned in the past that the launch might be delayed “by a few months”. 

Those with opinions about the Remote Gambling Act have been invited to share their opinions and feedback. Comments will be welcomed across the next three months, prior to the EC making its own decision on the legislation. 

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