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September and October gifts: further information on the remote gambling licence procedure

Posted on 13 November 2020 by Chris Adriaansz

As the start of the remote gambling licence application procedure draws closer, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (“NGA”) is speeding up the publication of information for potential applicants. September and October 2020 saw a considerable amount of very important guidance to potential licence applicants.

This publication will provide you with a short overview of a) general information on the NGA’s website, and b) policy rules and guidance documents on specific subjects. Furthermore, this publication contains a short outlook of information that can be expected. As a general remark here, please note that the NGA published all information in Dutch. Furthermore, all information is provisional and thus not necessarily final.

 

General information regarding the licence application procedure on the NGA’s website

Remote gambling communication calendar

On 7 September 2020, the NGA published a so called “Remote gambling communication calendar”. The calendar consists of three different versions. One version is intended for licensed land-based operators, one is for potential remote operators, and one is for other stakeholders (such as municipalities and addiction prevention representatives). The communication calendar includes key steps towards the entry into force of the licencing regime on 1 March 2021, including the publication date of certain documents, consultation procedures and opportunities to test technical connections.

Preliminary overview licence documentation

On 30 September 2020, the NGA published a preliminary overview containing the documents that in any case must be submitted with an application for a remote gambling licence. The overview is divided into twelve different categories including documentation requirements on subjects such as: outsourcing, separation of player funds, and reliability.

Technical measures: Control Database and CRUKS

Furthermore, the NGA published information on two important technical measures that will follow the entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act.

Firstly, in the preliminary overview of 30 September 2020, the NGA published an 8-page form on the Control Database (‘’CDB’’). The CDB is a secure repository in which data is stored that is relevant for monitoring of gambling offers by the NGA. The stored data relates inter alia to payment transactions, credits and debits to the player account, player profile limits being exceeded, and the intervention measures applied. Setting up and maintaining a CDB is mandatory for all remote gambling licence holders. Furthermore, the CDB must be located in the Netherlands.

With the publication of the CDB form, the NGA shows what applicants must submit regarding the CDB, thereby providing information which can already be taken into consideration for preparatory work. However, the form lacks details on the many (technical) requirements which the CDB must comply with.

Secondly, on 20 October 2020 the NGA published new information (in Dutch) on its website regarding CRUKS (Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen). CRUKS is one of the tools that is introduced by the Remote Gambling Act to combat gambling addiction. Players that are registered in the CRUKS-system cannot be granted access to (remote) gambling services. The NGA’s webpage on CRUKS includes information for operators on connecting to CRUKS, registration of players, and consulting CRUKS. This information, supplemented by some technical detail, has also been notified to the European Commission and is available in English. The information is subject to a standstill period ending on 25 January 2021.

 

Policy rules and Guidance documents subject to consultation

Remote Gambling Policy Rule and Model Licence

On 30 October 2020 the NGA published the long-awaited Remote Gambling Policy Rule and the Model Licence. By way of the policy rule the NGA explains how it will assess the remote gambling licence application. Certain sections of the policy rule are subject to the NGA’s closed consultation. These sections are highlighted in yellow. The closed consultation process ends on 22 November 2020. The final version of the Remote Gambling Policy Rule is expected to be published in January 2021.

Policy Rule on Responsible Gambling

On 19 October 2020, the NGA started a public consultation for its Policy Rule on Responsible Gambling (“RG Policy Rule”).  The RG policy rule expands on the regulatory provisions regarding responsible gambling and includes topics such as: misleading recruitment and advertising activities, reporting obligations regarding the operator’s addiction prevention policy, and requirements regarding addiction prevention representatives. Last Friday the NGA decided to extend the deadline for consultation reaction until 13 November 18:00 CET. The final version of the RG Policy Rule is expected to be published in January 2021.

Guidance on the AML Act

On 15 October 2020, the NGA launched a non-public consultation concerning the draft version of the NGA’s Guidance on the Dutch AML Act. The deadline for consultation reactions ended on 12 November 2020. Subsequently, the final Guidance document will be published for all interested parties. The Guidance document is non-binding and provides an explanation of the measures that (potential) gambling operators must take on the basis of the AML Act. The NGA has not provided further information on the expected date for the final version of the Guidance document.

 

Outlook

As noted above key Policy Rules and Guidance Documents are expected to be finalised at the beginning of 2021. Furthermore, the testing scheme for an operator’s gaming system has been published this Monday (also in English).

Albeit a considerable amount of information is currently filtering through, and more documents are expected to be published or finalised, some key points remain uncertain. One of those critical point for remote gambling operators, especially those with a presence on the Dutch market, is how the NGA will conduct the reliability assessment during the licence procedure in practice. We have previously discussed this assessment in our blog post of 28 October

Interested parties can take note of the expected questions in the NGA’s draft reliability form and information in the Policy Rule on Response Gambling. However, ultimately the way in which the NGA will assess an operator’s answers will influence the practical availability of a remote gambling licence. Before 1 March 2021, more concrete information on these subjects is not necessarily expected.

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Chris Adriaansz

Attorney-at-law

About the author

Chris Adriaansz is an associate at the Gaming & gambling Practice Group of Kalff Katz & Franssen.

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