Operators applying for an online gambling licence in the newly opened Dutch market seem to struggle with a number of regulatory requirements. What is the main challenge in obtaining the Dutch online gambling licence?
There are several challenges that licence applicants have to deal with in the Dutch market. The one that stands out and poses a challenge is the legal separation of player funds from the operator’s own risk baring capital. The Dutch regulator has prescribed three accepted methods for this separation, being the use of a Dutch bank guarantee, the use of a Dutch Third Party Funds Account, or the use of a Dutch Third Party Funds Foundation.
The first two options are difficult to obtain, as they require the involvement of a Dutch bank. It is hard to find a bank that is willing to work with online gaming companies, especially in the Dutch market. The third option, the Third-Party Funds Foundation, is inherently Dutch and therefore we believe the requirement of a Dutch bank is no longer a necessity. This means the Third-Party Fund Foundation is a great option for operators to choose, not only because it gives them the opportunity to separate the player’s funds, but also to do this in a strong corporate and compliant manner.
Of course, we cannot disregard the fourth option the Dutch regulator has provided for the separation of player funds. This option gives operators the opportunity to provide their own method for the separation of player funds. However, when choosing this option, the regulator will take up to six more months to decide on the application. These options prove that the Dutch regulator has set a strict compliance framework for obtaining the Dutch licence. A lot is asked from licence applicants, as was to be expected from the Dutch legal and corporate landscape, but in the end the application process and requirements for obtaining the licence are on par with other jurisdictions. Even though the process is extensive, we very much encourage it, as we believe this provides a strong regulatory environment and in turn a stronger online gambling market, as well.
What particular assistance do you offer in navigating the obligations of the KSA with regards to the separation of player funds? How does EM Group come into play in assisting operators targeting the Netherlands?
Entering new markets puts quite an administrative burden on your operation, especially since the focus should not only be on regulatory compliance, but also the need to be compliant on a local financial and legal perspective. This is exactly where we come in.
Our Dutch heritage and over 15 years of experience in this industry allow us to provide our clients a complete package designed for a Dutch Third Party Funds Foundation. We take care of the incorporation, opening of the bank account and make sure the Foundation is compliant from a regulatory and audit perspective. On top of that, we provide an independent board of directors and industry experts as supervisory directors. As an operator, you will have a Dutch team available for any other assistance needed to navigate the Dutch corporate and online gaming landscape.
What do you think of the new framework and the proposed regulations on responsible gambling?
We can only encourage a strict framework and the efforts to make gambling as responsible as possible. This is a joint effort between the regulator designing the rules for responsible gaming, the operator taking responsibility to take care of their players, and other service providers by maintaining and monitoring the compliance framework; and those operating therein.
EM Group provides its services under a Dutch trust-licence’. This means the services provided are regulated by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB), providing an extra layer of corporate governance and compliance which, in the eyes of the Netherlands Gaming Authority, is another positive development in its favour.