Betsson has cast doubt on the Dutch government’s proposals for a ‘bad actor’ clause that could see some firms banned from operating in the Netherlands when the licensed regime finally launches.
Sander Dekker, Minister for Justice, told a Parliamentary committee last week that firms penalised by the Netherlands’ regulator for unlawfully targeting Dutch customers would be initially ineligible to operate in the country’s liberalised market.
Should the rule be written into law, companies such as Betsson and MRG that have been fined in the last month would see their Dutch launch delayed further.
However, Betsson told iGamingBusiness.com that such a decision would run contrary to the stated targets of the Netherlands’ licensed gaming regime.
“The Dutch Government says high channelisation is the top priority, and in order to achieve that they would have to include the larger operators in the licensing system,” said Betsson executive Pia Rosen.
While the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has argued that those found to have been operating illegally should be banned from the Netherlands, Dekker stated earlier this year that Dutch consumers should have the right to access sites with a “reliable reputation”. Speaking to the Justice and Security Committee, he reiterated that while a permanent ban would be “legally disproportionate”, the regulator should exclude penalised firms for a yet-to-be-determined period.
Betsson’s Corona subsidiary was fined €300,000 ($350,000/£266,000) by the KSA in late August for promoting its krooncasino.com and oranjecasino.com brands.
In a statement issued last week, Corona said it is appealing the decision. It added that it “maintains its prior position that its operations comply with applicable laws and regulations in the absence of an EU-compliant gambling legislation in the Netherlands”.
Should Corona fail in its appeal with the regulator, the company intends to refer the matter to a court of law.
Betsson acquired Corona in 2014 in anticipation of the re-regulation of the Dutch online gaming market, which had been scheduled to take place 2015.
However, while the lower house of the Dutch parliament approved the Remote Gaming Bill in 2016, this is still awaiting Senate approval.
In June, the country’s coalition government stated its intention to push ahead with the process, with the aim of introducing new regulations by 2020.