Betsson Urges EU To Revisit Validity Of Netherlands Law (Update)

Cites recent CJEU ruling on Unibet vs. Hungary

Betsson AB is urging the European Union (EU) to revisit the Netherlands regulatory framework in light of its perceived non-compliance with EU law.

The company recalled EU infringement proceedings against the Netherlands initiated in 2006 and 2008 in which the country pledged to review the framework and liberalise the market but would in the meantime apply prioritization criteria to bridge the short gap until the market was opened to EU operators to apply for local licenses.

Betsson acquired the Kroon and Orange brands on the basis of that prioritization criteria but says the regulatory authority has since changed those criteria without legal basis, effectively leaving those brands at risk of enforcement by the Kansspelautoriteit.

The company said it will vigorously defend any attempt of enforcement, citing a recent CJEU ruling in favor of Unibet operating in the Hungarian market (see previous InfoPowa report).

“Given the political landscape in the Netherlands and the current government coalition, we now believe that no fair and transparent regulation enabling local licences (and consequently no local point of consumption tax) will be in place until after the next election in four years from now,” Betsson’s statement reads.

“Betsson will continue its business as usual, and continue providing Dutch customers the best customer experience in a safe and regulated environment.”

The company revealed [unnamed] senior executives at the European Union Commission had recently indicated that they will take infringement proceedings to the next phase if progression in opening the Dutch market is not made.

While some will argue the Netherlands has made strides towards achieving a regulatory framework, the opening of the market has yet to materialise.