Netherlands Debates Remote Gaming & Holland Casino Privatization

June 27, 2018 by Ella McDonald

The Netherlands could soon open up its borders to international gaming operators and allow them to offer regulated online casinos, poker and sports betting. The Remote Gaming Bill was drafted back in 2014 and received strong support from the House of Representatives who passed the bill in 2016.

The progress of the remote gaming bill was stalled by the upper house who had a number of concerns over the stipulations and the lack there of in the bill. The bill received a push this month after Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker penned a letter to the House of Representatives stating that key legislators in the government had finally agreed on some of the key provisions that have been causing delay for the bill.

This includes the provision that requires international operators to establish a physical presence in the country to be able to provide their gambling services and products to the Dutch. The Senate has agreed to review the bill this week and will discuss and debate on the new provisions included in the Remote Gambling Bill. If everything goes smooth, the bill should be passed before the end of July 2019.

Foreign Operators Must Set Up HQ In The Netherlands

According to Dekker’s letter, all international operators who are based outside of the EU/EEA areas will be required to establish a physical presence inside Netherlands. Whereas EU/EEA-based operators will only be required to assign a gambling addiction prevention representative to make sure that the company is adhering to Netherlands’ strict gambling addiction measures and efforts.

In his letter, Dekker said,

The presence of permit holders in the Netherlands is of great importance to the cabinet to further reduce the risk of gambling addiction. Large distance between permit holders and the Dutch health care system makes effective cooperation difficult. This cooperation is crucial to protect players effectively and preventively – directly within the game range.

Also included in Dekker’s letter are the government’s suggestions to keep a stricter divide between games of skill and games of chance to make sure young people are kept away from gambling sites. A more stringent criteria on advertisement and promotions will also be put in place.

Holland Casino Privatization

Included in the upper house’s agenda is the privatization of the Holland Casino, a matter that was also approved by the lower house early last year. Currently, Holland Casino has the legal monopoly over 14 land-based casinos across Netherlands. Under the legislation that seeks the privatization of the entity, the branches will be split into two: ten would be sold to one private operator and will remain under the Holland Casino brand and four will be sold separately to private companies and individuals.

In addition to the already existing brands, two casino licenses under Holland Casino are planned to be issued. The government expects the privatization to bring in €1 billion.