Saturday February 15,2014 : DUTCH REGULATOR FLEXES ITS MUSCLES
A range of measures against unlicensed operators is being put in place.
When the Dutch government legalises and regulates online gambling next year it will have in place an impressive array of measures designed to make life decidedly uncomfortable for unlicensed operators seeking to access the Dutch online punter.
The Dutch Gaming Authority has already handed out some heavy fines but will have an armoury of further restrictions and punitive options available when regulation finally goes live, thanks to extensive preparatory work in setting up appropriate structures.
The regulator will apply three criteria in determining whether an operator is exploiting the national market: the language used; the domain of the website; and what the advertising and media strategy appears to be (ie targeted on Dutch players).
And operators who are currently thumbing their noses at the Dutch authorities could find it difficult to obtain licensing once the new regulatory regime comes into force.
Following an initial warning, the regulator will not hesitate to apply stronger measures against recalcitrant operators that could include punitive fines as high as ten percent of turnover; ISP blocking that may extend to social network services thanks to recent agreements; restrictions on advertising in Holland; and financial transaction obstacles.
Ultimately, the DGA is prepared to engage with national prosecutors and haul the offending operator into the criminal courts.
In related news, progress is being made on the legislative front.
On Friday, Dutch lawmakers in the Council of Ministers approved the legalization of online gambling bill, which will now be presented to Parliament. The bill will also have to survive a full review by the Council of State before a final vote is taken, but legislators appear confident that the measure will be passed this (2014) year.
After that, the regulations will have to be completed and fine-tuned, which is unlikely to be accomplished by the start of 2015. Nevertheless, implementation is possible by mid-2015.