Last week, The Minister for Legal Protection sent a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives, answering questions in relation to motions that were adopted in the debate that took place on 18 June 2020 on the Remote Gambling Act and the secondary draft legislation relating thereto. We provide a brief summary below.

Delay of entry into force

By far, the most important news is that the envisaged date of entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act (and its secondary legislation, the Remote Gambling Decree and Remote Gambling Regulation) is now officially confirmed to enter into force on March 1, 2021, instead of January 1, 2021. It is intended that six months later, the market will open with the first licensed remote gambling operator up and running. The market is thus expected to open on September 1, 2021.

The causes for such delay are inter alia the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent need for operators to be able to properly prepare for the entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act.

CRUKS

In relation to land based operators, operators were supposed to be connected to CRUKS upon entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act, thus before remote operators had to be connected to CRUKS. In his letter, the Minister now informs the House of Representatives that this timeline has been postponed with six months. This means that both remote and land based operators will need to be connected to CRUKS at the same date: September 1, 2021.

Land based operators currently have been informed of the technical requirements of CRUKS via the website of the KSA, they can arrange for individual explanatory sessions with the KSA and they are able to test their connection to CRUKS. Remote operators will follow shortly.

Cooling-off period

With the new delay, the cooling-off period will also be extended to be two years and eight months (32 months). This means that applicants for a remote gambling licence should not have targeted the Dutch market in the 32 months prior to filing their application to successfully apply for a remote gambling licence. The Minster notes that further delays will not automatically mean that the cooling-off period can be extended, as this would contravene legal certainty.

Next steps

The next steps are that the draft secondary legislation will need to pass the EU notification procedure (which has a standstill deadline until mid November). Furthermore, as we reported earlier, the draft secondary legislation is also with the Dutch Council of State (Raad van State) for assessment. Upon successfully jumping through these hoops, the legislation will be ready to enter into force. In parallel, the KSA will prepare draft policy rules which will further implement the licensing requirements. Busy times ahead!

Sharif Ibrahim