This is a guest contribution by Willem van Oort is the founder of Gaming in Holland. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
2016 is looking to go down in the history books as a pivotal year for gaming in the Netherlands.
Among this year’s highlights are the adoption of the remote gaming bill by the Lower House, the first granting of a charity lottery license to a new market entrant in nearly thirty years, and the proposal of legislation to privatize state-owned Holland Casino.
Please join us in remembering 2016 through our ten most-read articles of the year!
1. Privatization of Holland Casino Could Earn the Netherlands up to €1bn (May 18, 2016)
After the Dutch government submitted a bill to Parliament proposing the privatization and sale of Holland Casino, insiders quickly started speculating about the casino chain’s worth.
According to investigative reporter Stefan Vermeulen, Holland Casino could net the Dutch state as much as €1bn – and quite possibly even more.
2. Gambling Taxation and Player Channeling Rate (March 23, 2016)
In March, noted economic research and consulting company Ecorys released a study on the relationship between gambling tax rate and the expected level of player channeling.
Their verdict: in case of a gaming tax rate of 20%, the stated policy goal of the Dutch remote gaming bill, a player channeling degree of 80%, is on the upper limit of the expected range. The current proposal of a tax rate of 29% would more likely than not result in a (much) lower degree of player channeling.
We followed up with an exclusive Q&A with Robert Haffner, the study’s lead author.
3. Dutch Gaming Authority KSA Grants Lottery License to Lottovate (November 22, 2016)
For the first time in nearly thirty years, a lottery license was granted to a new market entrant.
Again, we followed up with an exclusive Q&A. This time, with Peter-Paul de Goeij, Managing Director of Lottovate Nederland.
Expert panels at our annual Gaming in Holland Conference discussed various hot topics, including the privatization of Holland Casino, the remote gaming bill, responsible gaming, as well as lotteries and the funding of sports and charities in the Netherlands.
5. How (and Why) Regulated Remote Gaming Will Be Coming to the Netherlands (July 15, 2016)
Willem van Oort discussed the run-up to, as well as the consequences of, the adoption of the remote gaming bill by the Dutch Lower House on July 7, in an article that originally appeared on YogoNet.com.
“The remote gaming bill that recently passed the Lower House represents a compromise (in time-honored Dutch fashion) between the principles of individual responsibility and paternal disapproval of “irresponsible” activities such as gambling. As a result, we have witnessed, over the last few years, many delays, hesitant legislators, and quite a few examples of legislative posturing to signal a Calvinist-tinged moral distaste of the activity of pursuing unearned wealth.
Yet ultimately, a large majority of legislators also recognized that remote gaming does not stop at a country’s borders; and that regulation is therefore preferable to a wholly illegal and unregulated market.”
6. Looking Back at the Kalff Katz & Franssen/IMGL Annual Gaming Industry Event (January 27, 2016)
On Friday, January 22, 2016, law firm Kalff Katz & Franssen hosted its Annual Gaming Industry Event. The 2016 edition was co-hosted with the International Masters of Gaming Law. With over 150 attendees from all over the world representing the online and land-based gaming industry, as well as consultants, regulators, and policy makers, the event was a huge success.
The main topic of the discussion were the (eventually adopted) amendments to the remote gaming bill that introduced a uniform gaming tax rate of 29% for both the online and land-based sectors.
Watch a video summary of the event here.
7. Appeal by 21 Prominent Gaming Professionals: “Regulate KOA/Remote Gaming As Soon As Possible” (June 13, 2016)
At one point during late spring it appeared that the Lower House would not vote on the remote gaming bill ahead of the looming summer recess. In response, 21 prominent gaming professionals, including Marja Appelman, CEO at the Netherlands Gaming Authority, called on Parliament to vote on the bill as quickly as possible.
Not much later, on July 7, the bill was finally adopted by the Lower House.
8. EGR/GiH Breakfast Briefing: What’s Next for Holland? (December 2, 2016)
On December 1, EGR Magazine, Gaming in Holland, and SBTech hosted a well-attended Breakfast Briefing on the latest regulatory developments in the Dutch gaming, betting, and lottery markets.
Topics of discussion included remote gaming in the Netherlands, lotteries, land-based betting, and – last but not least – the recently announced tender for the single Dutch horse racing totalizator betting license.
9. Dutch Remote Gaming Bill Heading for Senate Majority (June 24, 2016)
Even before the final vote on the remote gaming bill in the Lower House, it became clear that the bill was very likely heading for a Senate majority as well.
Remarkably, during the debate in the Lower House almost all political groups expressed displeasure with the Netherlands Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit), citing a lack of effort in enforcing the current prohibition on online gaming – despite the rather obvious fact that, so far, it has been given few powers to actually do so.
10. Senate Committee’s Questions on Remote Gaming Bill Released (November 7, 2016)
Ahead of its vote (which hopefully comes soon) the Senate Committee for Security and Justice submitted a number of written questions to State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff regarding the remote gaming bill.
Although these questions did not appear too threatening (signaling ultimate Senate approval), the State Secretary’s answers could still help delineate the eventual interpretation the act is to be given by the courts and other legal bodies.
While everyone wished the State Secretary would respond to these questions before Christmas, this appears to not have happened.
Let us all hope for a quick resumption of the legislative process in 2017…
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