Online games of chance safer thanks to new legislation

Today, the Senate approved the Remote Betting and Gaming Act. Thanks to the new Act, which was approved by the House of Representatives in 2016, online games of chance offered in the Netherlands will be subject to regulation. This is urgently needed, as Dutch players currently play such games illegally on foreign websites. This makes it impossible to monitor gambling addiction. Another danger is that players could inadvertently fall prey to untrustworthy betting and gaming operators engaged in fraud and money laundering. The proposed legislation will bring about a change in this regard. In mid-2020, online games of chance will become subject to licensing under strict conditions in order to regulate them properly. This will allow Dutch players to game safely in a fair market.

'We see that society is digitising even further and that more than half a million Dutch citizens are currently playing online games of chance without protection. This entails major risks of gambling addiction and fraud. I'm happy that we will be able to ensure that what is on offer is safe, so online games of chance can be played responsibly,'

says Minister Sander Dekker.

Addiction prevention

The new Remote Betting and Gaming Act outlines a raft of measures intended to prevent gambling addiction. Betting and gaming operators will be required to monitor players much more closely. Players of online games of chance will be required to create a profile indicating their maximum stake. Online operators, as well as casinos and amusement arcades, will need to warn players if they are taking grave risks, for example by playing for long stretches or gambling large amounts of money. There will also be a Central Exclusion Register so that problem players can be temporarily banned from playing risky games of chance and be referred for help. Furthermore, operators will need to ensure that young people are not tempted to play games of chance. This means that no advertisements may target them specifically, and that ads may not feature popular athletes, for example. Another measure will be to create a strict distinction between 'regular' games and games of chance.

In addition to preventing gambling addiction, the new Act will also ensure that the playing field for online games of chance becomes both safer and fairer. Only trustworthy betting and gaming operators will be immediately eligible for a licence. Illegal parties that actively targeted the Dutch market will only be able to apply for a licence after a cooling-off period. By only licensing suitable parties and by strictly monitoring the process, we can assure players that the games of chance on offer are safe and sound.

Enforcement

The Netherlands Gaming Authority will be tasked with new responsibilities, such as issuing licences to online betting and gaming operators and supervising them. In order to combat the illegal games of chance on offer, the Netherlands Gaming Authority will also employ more staff and have more instruments as its disposal. For example, it will be able to target businesses and services that support illegal games of chance. Other options will include the ability to instruct payment services to stop working with illegal websites, or to order parties advertising illegal games of chance to stop doing so, and to impose a coercive penalty or fine if necessary.

Ministry responsible