The Netherlands in the News — Weekly Round-up for March 30, 2018

Dutch Gaming Authority Expresses Concern Over Curaçao Licensed Operators

Dutch regulator cannot dictate to counterpart in the Caribbean

The online gambling licensing jurisdiction Curaçao in the former Dutch colonial Netherlands Antilles is causing the mother country concerns over standards and regulation, according to an article Friday in the Curaçao Chronicle which quotes from the Dutch Gaming Authority’s latest annual report.

In the report the DGA voices serious concerns regarding the conduct of operators from Curacao who are targeting the Dutch online gambling market, claiming that the illegal activities of these operators are also the subject of complaints from national regulators in Europe and Australia.

The DGA has been at pains to point out to these complainants that it has no powers over the Curacao authorities in this regard.

The report notes: “The Dutch Gaming Authority is not the supervisor of Curaçao, although this is often thought [to be the case] in foreign countries,”

The report highlights the need for cooperation, observing: “International cooperation between supervisors is necessary to be able to effectively monitor the Dutch gaming market and to fight against illegal gambling. In 2017 the illegal gambling games from Curaçao in the Netherlands was noticed.”

Attempts to reach a stricter supervisory agreement with the Curaçao government have in the past not been successful, the report advises.

What the Dutch Gaming Authority can do is impose fines on offenders, and it has done so to a total of Euro 2.6 million in 17 cases. Only Euro 530,000 of this was paid, because “the owners usually hide behind a trust office and a network of companies in different countries, they don’t care much about being fined.”

The player community has long ceased to expect the Curacao licensing authority to help when disputes with Curacao operators have arisen; the authorities there appear to struggle with communication and response obligations.

Dutch Authority Release 2017 Annual Report

Hope for passage of new online gaming regulations, the recurring thread

The Dutch gambling authority Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has released its 2017 Annual Report with continued emphasise on operating under “outdated legislation” and its hope for progress towards ratification of a new online gambling regime.

“At various places in the Annual Report 2017 it can be read that there is an urgent need for the Remote Gaming Act,” a press statement reads.

“This bill, which is currently in the Senate, makes online games of chance legal under strict conditions.

“At the same time, the Gaming Authority will have more options and powers to enforce when it comes to online gambling.”

Pointing out that the current Act dates back to 1964, pre-internet, the KSA said current regulation provides insufficient possibilities to effectively combat illegal online offerings.

The proposed Remote Gambling Act (KOA) currently sits with the Senate, and assuming its passage, would be published in the Government Gazette after which the KSA would be able to issue licenses.

The bill provides the KSA additional enforcement powers including the ability to play online anonymously, ask payment service providers to cease accepting payments between players and illegal providers and ban payment service providers, internet service providers and advertisers etc who support illegal online gambling.

Following the KSA’s successful removal of 55 gambling apps in 2016 (see previous InfoPowa reports), the authority said a further eleven real-money gambling apps had been removed in 2017.

Netherlands Gaming Authority Urges Lawmakers To Advance Remote Gambling Act

Chairman likens the current situation to “mopping with the tap open”

Netherlands Gaming Authority chairman Jan Suyver pulled no punches this week in his annual report, criticising the glacially slow progress of online gambling legalisation and regulation…issues that have been in the political domain for years now.

The report observes that gaming industry legislation is outdated and should be reviewed, particularly from the online gambling perspective. And it calls “urgently” for the implementation of the proposed legislation, which is currently still languishing in the Dutch Senate.

The current situation does not allow the authority sufficient resources to combat illegal gaming, especially online, the report complains, noting that “most countries in Europe have legalised online games of chance. The Netherlands is one of the few that has not yet done so. If a remote gaming act is a fact it would be necessary to approach the authority for a licence to operate online gaming.”

Licensing would make it possible to regulate the market, the authority argues, observing:

“This makes it possible to regulate the market. The Dutch gambler can then safely and reliably take part in online gambling and illegal operations can be tackled.”

The report also underlines the need for funding arrangements to combat problem gambling, and a central registry for problem gamblers with self-exclusion facilities.

Chairman Suyver complains that trying to administer online and other gambling without practical and updated legislation is like “mopping with the tap open.”