The gambling regulators of Netherlands and Malta have entered into an information-sharing pact.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA), called the Kansspelautoriteit at home, and the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) of Malta signed an MoU last week, the second such agreement signed by the NGA. In November, the NGA signed a similar deal with Belgium, its neighbor.
The NGA considers its deal with Malta important considering the fact that a number of online gambling companies are licensed in Malta.
Originally, it was hoped that Dutch legislators will pass into law the Remote Gambling Bill by January 1, 2015, but the upper house now says that the bill will be voted on just before the summer recess. The new law, therefore, will not be brought into effect till January 1, 2016.
Irrespective of the delay in its legislative system, the government of Netherlands has asked online gambling operators interested in operating in the Netherlands to apply for a license by the end of this year. The NGA also warned operators to stop accepting bets from Dutch players this summer.
The regulator has also not hesitated to slap fines on operators that refused to obey its orders. For example, a fine of €130k each was imposed on the operators of Royaal Casino and 7red.com, which continued to accept Dutch players in spite of the NGA’s repeated warnings against doing so.
The companies operating the above-mentioned online gambling companies—Bluemay Enterprises NV and Redcorp SA—had to pay the fines. Both 7red.com and Royaal Casino offered online gambling services in Dutch, but after the NGA issued its warnings, the casinos stopped offering gambling services in Dutch, switching to English instead. However, they did not delete details of a special welcome bonus for Dutch gamblers from their terms and conditions pages. They also did not stop advertising online gambling services to Dutch players on their Facebook pages and running TV ads in Dutch on channels such as National Geographic. Later, the NGA informed these TV channels that the ads did not have official sanction.
Operators who obeyed the NGA are now taking all the required steps to apply for a Dutch license. This week, William Hill Sportsbook warned its Dutch affiliates to stop promoting the sportsbook in the Netherlands. In an email sent to its affiliates, William Hill stated that this was essential in order to better its chances of getting a license to operate in the Netherlands.
Renee is an international analyst and journalist specializing in covering legal developments and legislative efforts in regulated online betting markets world wide.