René Jansen, chairman of the Dutch gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit, offered more insight into the Remote Gaming Act, dealing with the licencing process, as well as marketing and age verification protocols Speaking at a gaming meeting in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, it was stressed that the Act will be enforced on 1 January 2021 instead of the original target date.
Online operating licences for gambling can be applied for as soon as the new law comes into force, with the market opening six months later.
Jansen says that in anticipation of a flood of requests, with approximately 200 potential parties expressing interest recently: “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’ seeks to ensure that operators who have not acted properly are at a disadvantage when the market opens, more information will follow an as-yet unplanned meeting between the Ksa and the Dutch Justice Minister, Sander Dekker.
As one of the last EU members to legalise online gambling, Jansen gave insights into the licencing process as a “drawn-out national debate ultimately resulted in a thorough, meticulously detailed law.” In an effort to achieve one of the most stringent addiction prevention policies in the world, information 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.
In addition, a stringent marketing strategy should also be encapsulated, saying that “Dutch legislators took note when things went wrong in other countries”.
The following must also be clarified by licence applicants:
- 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?
Also adding that there are to be stringent evaluations and that “we won’t accept situations that merely look good on paper,” Jansen went 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 surveillance is to start next month with consequences to be handed down if steps are not in place by the turn of next year, with Jansen pointing out that Dutch consumers ‘ online targeting is illegal under any conditions until the Remote Gambling Act comes into force.
In addition, Jansen highlighted another key difference: “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.”