The Dutch Senate has confirmed it will vote on the Remote Gaming Bill next week, in a move that could take the country closer to launching its regulated igaming market.
The Senate has been debating the legislation for the past week in the hope of moving the bill forward. The bill was passed by the lower chamber of the Dutch legislature, the House of Representatives, in 2016 but progress has stalled in the Senate. However, following a hearing yesterday (February 12), it has been confirmed that lawmakers in the upper house will vote on the bill on February 19.
Among the issues that have been up for debate over the past few days include a number of proposals by Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker, designed to offer additional protection to consumers.
Such measures include unlicensed operators that have been actively targeting consumers in the Dutch market to observe a two-year ‘cooling down’ period before they are permitted to apply for a licence.
Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) would then be able to assess the behaviour of these operators during the period and decide whether they should be allowed to submit an application.
“I want to make a distinction with regard to channelling and related consumer protection,” Dekker said in a letter to the Dutch Senate. “To be eligible for a licence, providers must show that they can behave.
“Illegal providers who continue to actively focus on the Dutch market and recruit players here, I want to ban. I have called these providers cowboys.”
Dekker has also proposed a number of restrictions for advertising, but advised against a blanket ban on ads, instead saying licensed operators should only be allowed advertise under strict conditions.
Operators would need to ensure ads do not encourage excessive participation or be aimed at socially vulnerable groups, including those under the age of 24, while licensees would not be permitted to use professional athletes, influencers or vloggers to promote their services.
Live betting adverts would be banned during the event they are in relation to, while all televised gambling adverts would be prohibited between the hours of 6am and 7pm.
Dekker goes on to outline how the KSA would be permitted to issue specific instructions to payment service providers, marketing companies and other facility service providers in order to block access to illegal sites.
“This way, for example, KSA can directly block payment services to illegal providers,” Dekker said.
Last week, the European Gaming and Betting Association praised Dekker’s efforts to help push the bill through, calling on Dutch lawmakers to introduce a national online gambling framework to help protect consumers and allow the country to benefit from iGaming taxation.
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