Suyver and Kessler Comment Dutch Gambling Framework

Following a let-up in the anti-gambling laws in the Netherlands, the regulatory authorities are now caught in what may appear to be in strife with the Dutch government which has been allegedly too slow to enact some of the provisos the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has been working on.

Much has changed since the latest overview of the Dutch gambling climate. On Monday, the Netherlands’ regulatory authority emptied the seats of Jan Suyver and Henk Kesler who stepped down from their posts as KSA chairman and vice-chairman at the beginning of October. Two new appointments have already taken their position at the helm of the organization, with René Jansen and Bernadette van Buchem joining as chairman and vice chair respectively.

Leaving their posts, Suyver and Kesler were rather more robust in their language, pointing out that the Dutch government had been toying with the idea of introducing a more liberal rules for the gambling market since 2012. However, it’s taken MPs six years to enact any measures.

A Few Items of Criticism Directed at the Dutch Government

Much of the contention surrounding the prolonged procedures was partly because of the religious disposition of such parties as the Christian Democratic Appeal and Christian Union that viewed gambling as immoral on the face of it. The two political entities had also fought the Remote Gambling Bill in the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, leading to an impasse for the draft law.

Suyver didn’t criticize the parties at great length and he conceded that passing any form of gambling legislation constituted an ideological challenge, which is difficult to address. However, he also hurried to point out that one’s anti-gambling stance shouldn’t be tantamount to a refusal to regulate the activity as the potential damaging effects of illegal operators are exacerbated by political bickering and stubbornness.

Kesler showed a similar attitude towards the slow approach that the government had chosen. According to Kesler, the KSA hadn’t received anything of what the organization had been promised upon crafting a working legal framework for the legalization of the segment.

He also noted that if consumers are to be truly protected, then the Parliament will need to set aside ideological differences between political entities and come together to deliver a bill.

Debating on a Future Brighter than the Past

Presently, the Remote Gambling Act is in the Senate where it will await further voting while stakeholders are providing input in the allocated period stretching through November 6.

Much of the debate will now be centered around whether operators that have shown previous misdemeanor, such as operating without a license, can in fact operate in the Netherlands.

A previous suggestion saw popular operator Betsson opposed the so-called “bad actor” plan the government had been tinker with.

Ultimately, the current legal context for gambling hasn’t changed much in the Netherlands. The two C-level executives stepping down has just been another occasion to comment on some of the persisting problems within the existing legislation.

In order to address them, though, political differences will have to be put behind. The road ahead is quite treacherous and we can expect more news as early as November 6.

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