Canadians who follow international gambling news will be interested to know that one of the Netherlands’ most powerful administrative courts has now overturned a lower ruling by declaring that it is not unlawful for Dutch electronic payment service providers to conduct business through illegal and unlicensed iGaming sites. A report from Intergame has revealed the verdict from the Council of State, which followed an appeal from local company Curo Payments BV for a ruling made in November 2016.
The ruling, made by a court in Oost-Brabant, gave the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) the right to penalize all payment service providers conducting their business through unlicensed gambling operators. Intergame noted that the ruling, which apparently cannot be appealed, has been considered a significant setback for the KSA – the Netherlands’ foremost gambling regulator.
The move will also set back the KSA’s efforts to enforce iGaming laws sanctioned in 1964, which dictate that playing online ‘games of chance’ should be prohibited.
A statement from the regulator itself explained that the ruling from the highest Dutch administrative judge is a ‘major setback’ for its goals. The authority noted that the ruling will make it even more challenging for the KSA to ‘take action’ against unlawful online gambling, stating that closer examination of the ruling will show the consequences of the decision on the KSA’s enforcement policies. The authority further noted that the public aims of these policies are to protect consumers, counteract illegal gambling activities, and prevent crime and addiction in the area of online gambling.
Despite being agreed upon by the Dutch House of Representatives back in 2016, the Senate has to date been unwilling to pass legislation that would better enable the KSA to control the local iGaming industry through the issuance of online gambling licenses to operators. The Remote Gambling Bill has also been specifically created to provide the regulator with more power to enforce local laws and punish non-compliant operators – powers necessary to keep the Netherlands’ iGaming space safe for all involved. However, it now seems unlikely that the bill will be implemented before 2019 at the earliest.
On this topic, the KSA stated that only when the Remote Gambling Bill has been adopted can it truly ‘make a stand’ against illegal gambling games and their providers in the Netherlands. For now, however, all the regulator can do is wait for the Senate’s decision on the legislative piece that should be finalised sometime next year.