Prague Gaming Summit: “Netherlands the world champions at slowly regulating the gaming sector”

By Tim Poole

Gaming lawyer Justin Franssen has dubbed the Netherlands the "world champions" of slow regulation, following ongoing delays to the opening of its regulated online market.

Following two and a half years of delays, the Remote Gambling Act was finally adopted by the Dutch Senate in February 2019.

However, delays since have moved the market’s planned opening from 1 January 2021 to 1 July 2021.

A cool-off period of two years also exists for any operators already active during the illegal, unregulated market and Franssen could not help but poke fun at his native Netherlands at the Prague Gaming Summit.

When introduced as part of a panel on regulation, being asked if the country was about to introduce a new law by July next year, he joked "don’t be so positive."

Franssen, who is a partner at law practice Kalff Katz & Franssen, told the audience: "We are the world champions at slowly regulating the gaming sector. When we started, I was blonde (pointing to his grey hair) and 80 kilograms and look at me now; this didn’t happen overnight!

"It’s ridiculous how long it has taken. But there is some good news: finally the secondary regulation was sent to Parliament. Are we there, then? Probably not, if you look at the history of previous Dutch regulation.

"Despite the fact we thought all the political debates ended in November last year, we have certain indications that we can expect some ‘fireworks.’

"They have political techniques to slow down the process. They can call for a debate and plan it for several months later. They can ask questions and more.

"But let’s look at it from the bright side. If everything goes very smoothly, we should have implementation of the legislation on 1 January 2021 and a market opening on 1 July 2021."

It is yet to be seen how the impact of the coronavirus pandemic also affects Dutch gaming legislation and regulation.


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