Dutch regulator must explain lottery monopoly

By Harrison Sayers

The Netherlands Council of State  has decided that the Kansspelautoriteit (Dutch Gaming Authority) was justified in awarding Lotto BV the county’s sole license for ‘sport prize questions and instant lotteries’.

However, following an appeal by gambling firms Betclic, Betfair, Unibet and the European Gaming & Betting Association, the council have asked the authority to provide greater guidance and transparency on the  motivations for the operator’s monopoly over lotteries.

The appeal to the Council made by these businesses centres on European Union legislation, which ensures the freedom to provide services across its member states,  with the council ruling  that the decision to only award Lotto BV a lottery license was unjustified.

In its summary, the Council argued that there are ‘no major differences for the risk of gambling addiction between lotto's and charity lotteries’ yet the regulator has awarded six charity lottery licenses. The regulator must now explain why ‘only one license for lotto's was provided’.

Responding to the council's claims, the Kansspelautoriteit issued a statement on their website stating: “We will take new decisions regarding the licensing of Lotto BV for offering lotto's and the objections against it. These are motivated with due regard for the statements of the Council of State.”

In addition to the main ruling, the council also found that both instant scratch cards and sports betting monopolies were justified due to the Dutch policies on games of chance. These policies included ‘protecting the consumer, combating illegality and crime and preventing gambling addiction’.

Commenting on the decision Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA, said: “The Council of State ruling is correct to question the justification of the Dutch Gaming Authority’s decision to grant a monopoly for lotto products. Today’s ruling not only underlines the fundamental importance of transparent licensing procedures but also underlines the need for the modernisation of the Dutch gambling laws and the regulation of the online gambling market which is unaffected by the Council’s ruling.”

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