DUTCH LOWER HOUSE PASSES ONLINE GAMBLING BILL (Update)
After years of false starts and delays, Dutch lawmakers get their act together.
The lower house of the Dutch parliament finally passed a bill to regulate online gaming in the country on Thursday, giving momentum to a remote gambling measure that has been delayed repeatedly over the last several years.
The bill now moves to the national Senate, where observers expect it to pass, opening the way for the implementation of a regulatory and licensing system at some stage next year.
The Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit indicated last year that there was considerable operator interest in licensing which is expected to remain, despite recent amendments that have reportedly increased the tax exposure of operators.
Licence holders will pay a tax of 29 percent on gross profits from gambling services, as well as a 0.25 percent contribution to a fund to prevent addiction and a 1.5 percent levy to the sector regulator.
Full details of the amended bill are still awaited, but it is understood that among its provisions is a prohibition on Dutch lotteries and land casino operators from deploying previously accumulated databases (for example player details) in any remote gambling enterprise they decide to introduce under the new laws.
That should go some way to ensuring a level playing field in what is expected to be a competitive market.
Other provisions concern contributions to a national problem player fund and requirements regarding the protection of data, ID verification and responsible gaming measures. The amendments have also done away with a proposal that operators must have a physical presence in the Netherlands
The bill moved through the House with strong support today, according to observers. It was supported by the ruling coalition parties the Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Labour Party (PvdA), as well as opposition parties from across the political spectrum.