Posted in Industry August 5, 2017
The Netherlands Remote Gaming Bill: What to Expect from Dutch Gambling in 2018
The matter of legalizing online gambling is hot in the Netherlands now. Since June 2016 the country’s been waiting on the passing of the Remote Gambling Bill. However, this achievement has yet to come. In the meantime, the Dutch Gaming Authority initiated a rule change, which resulted in an exodus of online gambling operators.
Remote Gaming Bill and What it Means for the Netherlands
The first talks of the Netherlands Remote Gambling Bill started in 2013. By June 2016 the bill has taken shape and even got passed by the Dutch Lower House. According to the local legislative procedures, the law can become active only after it’s approved by the Senate.
Unfortunately, this is where the bill ended up. It has been residing there for a year now, with no news on when the country’s main legislative body will deal with it. This changed during the Gaming in Holland Conference, which took place on the 13th and 14th of June 2017.
Two of the Ministry of Security and Justice officials were speakers at this conference. Frans Maas and Dennis van Breemen shed some light on the future of the Netherland Remote Gaming Bill.
According to them, the Dutch players can expect this law no sooner than the summer 2018. The legislation itself might pass in October 2017 if the Senate finally gets to discussing it. In this case, the Dutch online gambling market might officially open sometime next July.
Van Breemen has admitted that this prognosis is highly optimistic and made no promises. This means that bill might not be considered during the next Senate session. According to the official’s words, the main obstacle for this law is marketing. The authorities have yet to determine the right way to advertise online gambling operators in the Netherlands.
In fact, the Dutch Gaming Authority has recently announced a set of new rules pertaining to this matter. This change is so strict and unexpected that many online gambling operators chose to leave the Netherlands altogether.
The Dutch gambling market is considered to be one of the most promising in the world. Therefore, many operators are interested in entering it on legal terms. Should the Netherlands Remote Gaming Bill finally pass, there will definitely be a few businesses applying for a license.
However, as the situation stands now, the number of those businesses might not be large enough to realize the market’s full potential. Political turbulence and loss of the legislative momentum for the bill contribute to this, but the main reason is taxes.
Right now, the expected tax rate for iGaming businesses in the Netherlands is 29% on the gross gaming revenue. This rate is the same as the one set for Holland Casino, the monopolist gambling operator in the country. The problem with this rate is that it’s too high for international businesses. Should they enter a market with a 29% tax, their margins will suffer and the whole deal will be unfeasible.
Hopefully, this one and all other matters preventing the Dutch iGaming market opening will be dealt with this autumn. In this case, the industry can see some much needed growth.
Changes in Online Gambling Regulations Chase Operators Away from the Dutch Market
The Netherlands Remote Gaming Bill might not be a reality yet, but the Netherlands Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) is already making changes. Those changes send shockwaves through the market.
The new rules took effect on the 1st of June 2017 and already two major operators have left the Netherlands. Royal Panda Casino did this almost immediately and took all its affiliates with them.
Licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, Royal Panda Casino is a fairly new online casino brand (2014). However, it already has thousands of loyal fans. The MGA license allows them to operate in the majority of European countries, so it’s safe to assume that Royal Panda wasn’t happy with this situation.
The Gaming Innovation Group has also withdrawn to comply with the new regulatory changes. Those rules prevent using affiliate websites with the .nl domain to redirect players to .com. In fact, using the .nl websites altogether is prohibited now. The same goes even for using any traditional Dutch symbols in ads. So now people won’t be seeing casino ads with tulips or windmills.
According to the regulatory authority, those operators caught using these practices will be punished most severely. They also must take on the responsibility of blocking Dutch players from their websites.
This change came completely unexpected and left international gambling operators no time to adjust. The exodus is caused might reach mass-scale cutting off the Netherlands completely. With the tax rate in the proposed legislation, many of the leading operators will think twice before returning.
The good news is that the Gaming Innovation Group has already announced that it will be most interested in re-entering the market once the new regulations take effect. This is the operator behind Betspin Casino, Guts Casino, Rizk Casino, and Kaboo Casino brands. Should they return, the Dutch players will be able to enjoy some of the top-quality online gambling options available today.