E-SPORTS ILLEGAL IN THE NETHERLANDS…FOR NOW.
Dutch regulator clarifies current position.
The Dutch online gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit has issued an advisory clarifying the current legal status of eSports, classifying the competitions as games of chance and therefore gambling and illegal under current Dutch laws.
The statement on eSports betting advises:
“Playing games on the Internet (e-sports) is permitted. Betting on these games is a game of chance. For this, a license is required for anyone to be allowed to offer gambling in the Netherlands.
"At present it is not possible for e-sports betting to apply for a license in the Netherlands. E-sports betting is prohibited in the Netherlands.”
The advisory goes on to equally define skin betting in eSports as "games of chance" and therefore also illegal.
It confirms what most industry observers have known for some time…online gambling in general remains illegal in the Netherlands, and eSports betting and promotion will be monitored on the same basis.
Interestingly, the advisory also doubles as a request for information by the Dutch regulator, which asks the public at large to respond via an online contact form and provide Kansspelautoriteit with pertinent eSports information on providers; whether they lost money on eSports betting and how much; how they found out about eSports and the provider; and whether they are aware of the involvement in eSports of any persons under age 18 years
That suggests that the regulator is still building a knowledge base on eSports and is considering the verticals position in a legalised market. The vertical received but a passing mention in a research report commissioned by the regulator and published last year.
Once the long-planned but repeatedly delayed Dutch legalization on internet gambling has been finalised – hopefully next year – the situation could obviously change.
Legislation allowing for the regulation and licensing of online gambling operators accessing the Dutch market has been in process for the past five or more years, and the (hopefully) final iteration of the new laws was passed by the Dutch Lower House in July .
The next hurdle is the Dutch Senate, which is expected to vote on the legalization sometime in H1-2016, and there are other regulatory hurdles that will have to be cleared before actual implementation sometime in 2017.
Some pessimists have opined that it could be Q1-2018 before licensed operators can commence Dutch operations.