Dutch Gambling Law: An update

Written By:

Peter-Paul de Goeij, Managing Director, NOGA

The Remote Gambling Act in the Netherlands is expected to come into force most likely by 1 March 2021 with the online gambling market estimated to open around October 2021. After many years of debating and drafting, international gambling operators are gearing up to apply for a Dutch online gambling licence in the very near future.

The Dutch trade organisation, Stichting Speel Verantwoord, has anticipated this development in the market and recently went through a transition to reform from a foundation which mainly focused on the opening up of the online gambling market, to a full-fledged trade association with seven constituting members including leading international gambling groups such as bet365, Betsson, Flutter, GVC and Kindred. Headed by Peter-Paul de Goeij as Managing Director, the newly established association adopted a new name: NOGA (Netherlands Online Gambling Association).

The transition process involved a lot of red tape and court approval was required to change into an association. Due to COVID-19, the courts were not convening, delaying the process even more. The idea to change the trade body into an association with a new name took form at the beginning of 2019. With legislation having passed both the country’s lower and upper houses in February 2019, Speel Verantwoord’s board decided it was time to advance towards a more comprehensive trade association promoting all aspects of the gaming industry and representing online gambling companies.

NOGA’s Managing Director, Peter-Paul de Goeij, explains why a name change was necessary with the establishment of the organisation as a trade association: “The former name, Speel Verantwoord, meaning ‘play responsibly’, is in itself a good name as it stands for one of the most important issues a gambling trade body should represent: responsible gambling. However, we found that often when we introduced ourselves to our counterparts and stakeholders, they were expecting a consumer protection group or a gambling harm prevention group. Whilst consumer protection is an important pursuit, it is not the only area we covered as a trade body. Oftentimes MPs responded somewhat surprised after learning we were a trade body, representing online gambling companies.”

The new name immediately makes clear the organisation’s objective as a gambling association, leaving no room for ambiguity. The Dutch gaming industry is entering a new phase, advancing from the parliamentary debate around the online gambling bill and regulations towards the enactment thereof and the opening of the market.

NOGA’s primary objectives are to promote a healthy, fair and future-proof gambling climate in the Netherlands. The association aims to take a leading role in the prevention of fraud and problem gambling and to directly combat gambling addiction by providing information and support to the public relating to responsible gambling. “I would like NOGA to act decisively against gambling participation by minors or vulnerable consumers while promoting integrity in sports betting and transparency in the industry. To be transparent ourselves, we have decided to publish our objectives online, on our website, so we can publicly be held accountable to them,” says De Goeij. All NOGA members subscribe to these objectives and all future members will be required to commit to them. NOGA aspires for the Netherlands online gambling market to become the blueprint of what a successfully regulated market with a high channelisation rate and well-protected consumers should look like.

Gaming operators who want to enter the Dutch market will find out individually it’s hard to get in touch with all relevant Dutch authorities and stakeholders, to get all the information first- hand and keep track of constant developments. As member of NOGA you have the advantage of being represented with all relevant authorities. NOGA membership offers more valuable benefits to new entrants that are applying for a licence. De Goeij cautions prospective newcomers to the Dutch market against waiting until the market opens before joining his trade association. He points out that these companies deprive themselves of getting ahead of the curve and being well represented with the ministry and the regulator. NOGA can be contacted for more information via info@no-ga.nl.


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