Kansspelautoriteit examines ‘bad actor’ clause

MRG CEO calls for Dutch to follow “fair play” demonstrated by Swedish regulator


The Netherlands’ gambling regulator is investigating the effects of the ‘bad actor’ clause raised by Minister Sander Dekker last week.

As reported by iGamingBusiness.com on Monday, Minister for Justice Sander Dekker told a Parliamentary committee that firms penalised by the Netherlands’ watchdog for unlawfully targeting Dutch customers would initially be ineligible to operate in the country’s liberalised market.

Dekker has now asked Kansspelautoriteit to examine the subject and come up with appropriate regulations. Gaming operators may be concerned that the watchdog was reportedly pushing for operators found to have broken the law to be permanently excluded from the Dutch market.

Kansspelautoriteit told iGamingBusiness.com that it will not comment on the ‘bad actor’ clause until the regulatory approach had been finalised.

Kansspelautoriteit’s Jan Erik van der Werff (pictured) said he was not concerned that operators are increasingly ignoring Dutch laws despite a number of fines being handed out in the last few months.

“The recently handed-out fines are a result of an adaptation of the enforcement regime in 2017,” he said.

“We act on online gambling specifically targeting the Dutch market. We don’t have signs operators are increasingly ignoring Dutch law, but of course we keep an eye out.”

Meanwhile, MRG has joined Betsson in casting doubt on the likelihood of a ‘bad actor’ clause being introduced. MRG was fined by Kansspelautoriteit last month for failing to block Dutch gamblers, but immediately launched an appeal, claiming most operators do not practice IP blocking.

MRG CEO Per Norman told iGamingBusiness.com: “Since most gaming operators do not practice IP blocking that would mean that very few operators will be able to operate in the Netherlands during the first period of licences.

“That will of course severely hit the channelisation which, from my opinion, is the most important objective with a local regulation. It is most likely also setting aside the EU's regulations on free trade.”

Norman added that his company is “very much looking forward to see the Netherlands becoming a regulated market” and suggested it will have the benefit of being able to learn from the experiences of the UK, Sweden and Denmark regulators.

“In Sweden we are right now in the first part of the licensing process where all operators are welcome to apply, irrespective of previous presence or non-presence in the market,” Norman said.

“That is fair play. My advice would be to secure a close cooperation and dialogue with the industry in order to make the regulation effective from the very beginning.”

While the lower house of the Dutch parliament approved the Remote Gaming Bill in 2016, it is still awaiting Senate approval.

In June, the country’s coalition government stated its intention to push ahead with the process, with the aim of introducing new regulations by 2020.