René Jansen, chairman of the Dutch gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit, has been shedding further insight on the Remote Gaming Act, addressing the licensing procedure, as well as advertising and age verification protocols.

Speaking at a Gaming in Holland meeting in Amsterdam, it was reemphasised that as things stand, the Act will be introduced on January 1, 2021 rather than our original target date of July 1, 2020.

Online gambling operation licences can be applied for as soon as the new law has entered into force, with the market opening up six months later.

Expecting a flood of applications, with close to 200 potential parties recently registering interest, Jansen states that: “We can’t formulate the final licence conditions until all subordinate legislation has been finalised. Subordinate legislation serves to flesh out the details of a new law, which involves elaborating certain aspects, filling in details, and generally crossing T’s and dotting I’s. 

“However, these details are often crucial when formulating licensing conditions. There’s no point in us telling you to do things a certain way now, only to change our minds later on.”

Commenting that a ‘Postema motion’ aims to ensure that operators who have not behaved properly are at a disadvantage when the market opens up, more details will be forthcoming following an as-yet unscheduled meeting between the Ksa and Sander Dekker, the Dutch justice minister.

Becoming one of the last EU members to legalise online gambling, Jansen did give insights into the licensing procedure as a “drawn-out national debate ultimately resulted in a thorough, meticulously detailed law.”

Striving to achieve one of the world’s strictest addiction prevention policies, information to be provided will include:

  • What efforts are you making to protect players from excessive participation and gambling addiction?
  • What additional measures are you taking to protect the 18-25 age group?
  • What steps have you taken to embed prevention in your operational management and organisational culture?
  • What are you doing to make sure your management staff and employees have sufficient training, knowledge, expertise and skills?

“You will have to demonstrate that all these requirements have been met to qualify for a licence. And let me assure you: we will definitely find out if your measures only exist on paper,” Jansen warns.

Furthermore, a strict policy on advertising is to also be encapsulated with it noted that “Dutch legislators took note when things went wrong in other countries”.

Licence applicants will also have to explain the following:

  • How have the various responsibilities been assigned?
  • What measures will you be taking to avoid misleading or aggressive advertising?
  • How will you make sure players are not incentivised to gamble excessively?
  • How will you ensure your advertising does not target vulnerable groups?
  • How will you be applying player bonuses?

Adding again that strict assessments are to be in place and that “we won’t accept situations that merely look good on paper,” Jansen moved on to stress: “When it comes to assessing the reality behind your situation on paper, we won’t be limiting our focus to advertising and addiction prevention. 

“For example, we will be evaluating your reliability, your integrity policies, the financial continuity of your business, the separation of player credits, your age verification procedures and so on. We want to know exactly who we’re dealing with before we issue an online gambling license; promises and words alone simply won’t cut it.”

Age verification monitoring is to begin next month with repercussions to be handed down if measures are not in place by the turn of next year, with Jansen reminding that the online targeting of Dutch consumers is illegal under any circumstances until the Remote Gambling Act enters into force.

Concluding, one more key difference was highlighted by Jansen: “Unlike the current law, the new Act explicitly grants Ksa the authority to use mystery shopping in the fight against illegal operators. In another crucial new expansion of our powers, Ksa will be granted the authority to issue binding instructions to parties that facilitate illegal online gambling. 

“For example, we can demand that payment service providers working on behalf of illegal online gambling sites immediately stop doing so: no pay, no play. At present, we can only politely ask them to stop providing these services.”