After years of efforts on the part of the legislation, Dutch players will finally be able to legally play top-notch online casino games developed by world-class game software providers. The Netherlands Senate has finally approved remote gambling on 19th of February 2019, two and a half years after the original bill was actually passed. The Dutch Gaming Authority was prepared for the change and has come out with the regulations, rules and conditions the potential licensees need to meet. In fact, the new regulations will become part of law through a Royal Decree. The aim of the new regulations is addressing the unregulated and illegal online gambling market which is still available to Dutch players. The Dutch players were reminded, though, that until the act comes into force, online gambling still remains illegal. The act is expected to take effect from the next year’s third quarter, and until then, the only legal wagering that will remain in the Netherlands is race betting at Runnerz, sports betting at Toto and casino gaming through Holland Casino. Statements by De Kansspelautoriteit and the Minister for Legal Protection The Chairman of the Board of Directors of De Kansspelautoriteit (the Dutch Gaming Authority) Rene Jansen described this long-awaited approval by the Senate as a milestone. He came out with a statement that said the amendment of the Betting and Gaming Act enables the De Kansspelautoriteit to protect players who participate in online games of chance. This was not possible in an illegal online gambling market, he said. With the modernization and modification of this law, Jansen said that it is better possible to enforce a fair and safe market if players were allowed to play games provided by an operator with a license. As announced, the potential licensees will need to pay a 29.1% tax on gross revenues and will need to meet tough conditions including the completion of a reliability test on both systems and company, integration with the National exclusion register and players observance for problem gambling behaviours. Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection is the one who will decide when exactly this Act will come into force, in consultation with the Kanspelautoriteit. The act will give the De Kansspelautoriteit extra powers to deal with illegal suppliers through a number of measures, once the licenses are awarded. One of those measures will be the ban of payment services, as reported by the authority. Dekker actually said that the government is aware that society is digitizing and more than half a million of Holland’s citizens are participating in illegal and unprotected online gambling, which involves huge risks like fraud and gambling addiction. He added that he was happy the government can now offer Dutch players a secure system where they could gamble online in a responsible manner. Dekker also penned a proposal that will accompany the new law, which implements a two-year-long suspension period for those operators who have been operating on the Dutch market illegally or have been fined by the Kanspelautoriteit. The proposal names operators who have been targeting the Dutch players actively through the use of a Dutch domain or local payment instruments like iDeal and who have been using advertising aimed at the Dutch players as illegal operators. Once the new Bill is published, although not officially clarified, the suspension period will immediately begin. European Gaming and Betting Association’s Opinion The Secretary-General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) Maarten Haijer welcomed the new law changes, saying they will finally help bring gambling regulation in Holland into the 21st century. Haijer congratulated Minister Rene Dekker on his commitment and effort to regulate the online gambling sector. He added that (illegal) online gambling is highly popular in the Netherlands and explained that the current situation is neither tenable nor justifiable since 1.8 million Dutch players are still gambling online with no regulatory protection under the Dutch law whatsoever. EGBA’s message is simple, he said, it is in the interest of everyone to have a regulated online gambling market which will protect online casino players. Haijer also commented that for the new law to be a successful one it must be supported by a tax regime and a licensing system which will attract enough operators to meet players’ games demand and ensure that the Dutch players are attracted to the games of the regulated and licensed operators. He closed his statement saying that EGBA looks forward to working with De Kansspelautoriteit to ensure effective and timely implementation of the new rules in a consumer-friendly way.