Dutch Advisory Commission for Online Gambling

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In the coming months an advisory commission will discuss the question in which capacity can gambling via the internet be offered in the Netherlands. In March 2010 the commission will offer its advice to the Minister of Justice. The council of ministers has agreed on a proposal from Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin and Minister of Interior Affairs and Royal Affairs To Eyrie, to function as a body to oversee any proposed amendments to the law regarding 'Gambling via the Internet' with Mr. G. J. Jansen, Commissioner of the Queen in Overijssel, as the chairperson.

At this moment it is illegal to introduce or offer any gaming website on the Dutch market. Currently, any foreign concerns offering gambling sites directed towards the Dutch market do that without a license and are thus illegal. As recent research has shown, it appears that there is a lot of interest in a good and legal option to gamble, therefore the Dutch Government is keen to investigate under what conditions gambling via the internet can be regulated.

The appointed commission has the task to offer advice regarding general conditions of a plan to regulate gambling via the internet, with a possible result being a proposal for a legal industry to operate. In that possibility, specific attention must be given to the consequences of the European Law, durability of the current Dutch gaming policy, nature and size of the current illegal operations, the distribution of licences, similar developments in other EU-member countries and the protection of vulnerable groups, such as minors and young adults.

As well as the chairman Mr. G. J. Janssen, the commission is made up of four other members: Ms. I. Brakman, Mr. R. Craemer, Mr. M. Koeter and Professor A. de Moor - van Vugt. The chairman and members have been chosen on the grounds of their knowledge and experience of public administration, gambling and gaming, the internet, addiction prevention and rehabiliation as well as European law.

What the outcome of this advice will be can only be speculated on, but one possibility is that the commission will opt for a solution that has recently been implemented in France and Italy. These two countries have given a number of bookmakers (including Bwin and BetClick) a licence offering gambling via the internet.

Conditions for obtaining such licences include, amongst others, an increased tax rate, sponsoring of social activities and groups as well as offering online activities via a domestic server park and domestic domain name. With this approach, the authorities hope to find a balance between regulating and checking of concerns offering gambling via the internet.

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