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EGBA: Dutch Online Gambling Situation “No Longer Tenable”, Bill Finally Heads to Senate

EGBA urges Netherlands to re-organize online gambling market as millions of Dutch gamblers are at risk, forced to gamble on unregulated websites

The Dutch Senate is set to finally consider the so-called Remote Gambling Bill that has been stuck in the parliament for the past two and a half years after it survived its first major legislative hurdle in the summer of 2016 to be passed in the House.

The Remote Gambling Bill contains provisions and proposals for the re-organization of the Netherlands’ digital gambling market in a manner that would make it possible for international online gaming and betting operators to obtain licenses from the local regulator and to operate in a regulated environment. Such operators will also be obligated to pay taxes to the country for being allowed to service local customers.

The start of the Remote Gambling Bill in the Senate is scheduled for today at 1:50 pm local time through 5:25 pm local time and again from 7:45 pm local time through 11:55 pm local time, or nearly eight hours. As it can be seen, legislators from the upper house of the Dutch parliament have a long day ahead, and hopefully a fruitful one that will finally see some progress in the re-organization of a market with great potential.

EGBA Calls for Re-Regulation of the Local Market

Ahead of today’s debate, the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) published yesterday a statement to once again express its support for the re-regulation of the Dutch market and for the ongoing effort of Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker to bring regulated online gambling to the country.

In yesterday’s statement, EGBA’s Secretary General Maarten Haijer said that “the introduction of a Dutch online gambling framework is urgently needed” as the Netherlands is currently one of few EU countries whose digital betting and gaming markets are still unregulated.

Mr. Haijer went on to say that the situation is “no longer tenable” and that it hurts “normal, law-abiding citizens and puts their protection at risk by forcing them to play in an unregulated online environment.”

According to EGBA’s statement, the Dutch online gambling market was worth nearly €600 million last year, which cost the Netherlands around €175 million in tax revenue that operators targeting local customers would have paid to the country if the market had been regulated.

“A licensing model which facilitates this consumer choice will create a better functioning market with players who are properly protected and valuable tax receipts for the Dutch state”, says EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer

EGBA’s full statement can be read here.

Online Gambling Participation On The Rise

According to a recent survey commissioned by Holland Casino, the number of people gambling on unregulated websites has increased 20% over the past two years. More than 1.86 million Dutch people were discovered to have wagered money on such websites in the period between 2016 and 2018.

Online poker and casino games have been the most popular products among Dutch gamblers, but sports betting has also grown in popularity in the country in recent years.

The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, has tried for years to purge the gaming and betting space of unregulated operations, but with little success. The regulatory body has slapped hefty fines to a number of internationally licensed companies that have kept targeting Dutch players, despite warnings that their activities have been violating existing rules. However, Kansspelautoriteit has been particularly successful in collecting those hefty fines.

It is yet to be seen how the country will treat fined operators and whether they will be forced to serve a time out from the market when it gets reorganized. In other words, such errant companies might not be allowed to apply for licenses at the outset, and might have to wait for a little while as a form of punishment for previously targeting Dutch customers.

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The post EGBA: Dutch Online Gambling Situation “No Longer Tenable”, Bill Finally Heads to Senate appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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