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Dutch Banks Reluctant Players In Payments Ban

October 5, 2008 2008

The Dutch Banking Association is unlikely to co-operate with any rules put forward for blocking payments to online operators unless they see evidence of a criminal conviction of an operator, according to lawyers close to the situation.

Justin Franssen, gaming lawyer with Van Mens & Wesselink, was commenting during the second day of the European Gambling Briefing (EGB) in Amsterdam. His comments follow further suggestions at the weekend from the Dutch Ministry of Justice [2] that the government was considering the possibility of going down the route of attempting to block financial payments to offshore online operators.

Franssen said any action would unlikely be a new law and would more likely be an addition to the current gaming law. However he added that, before they could gain cooperation from the Dutch Banks (Nedelandse Vereniging van Banken, or NVB [3].) the Dutch authorities would find themselves having to pursue and eventually attempt to arrest online operators such as Unibet.

He added that in the case of Unibet, this as something that the Maltese authorities, where Unibet is licensed, would be unlikely to comply with.

Franssen also suggested that the current infringement proceedings begun by the European Commission against the Dutch government in relation to protection of its monopoly lottery and casino operators would be destined to end in the European Court of Justice. He said that a key sticking point was the Dutch system of proposing single licenses but then refusing to open even this license up to an open tender process. He said the process should be “non-discriminatory”.

He also pointed out that though the government and Holland Casino were still confident that a provision for the monopoly operator be awarded an exclusive three-year licence to provide online gaming might be included once again in the Gambling Act proposed for the summer, he believed their hopes would be in vain.

Such a proposal was recently defeated in the Dutch senate [4], and Franssen believes a majority against the proposal continues to exist. “My thinking is it won’t happen,” he said. “The votes are against it.” He added that the only chance it might have would be if the government awarded multiple licenses and opened up the process to competition.

Elsewhere at the EGB, Bartosz Andruszaniec an associate at Allen & Overy in Poland, delivered the message that despite the suggestion for the minister of finance that the Polish government would look at the possibility of opening up the online market, there had yet to be any sign of legislative proposals. “Any future legislation is yet to be presented,” he said. However, he added a hopeful note. “The government is trying to find as much money as possible,” he said.

The author of this article is Scott Longley. This article was previously published on GamblingCompliance.com (http://www.gamblingcompliance.com)

© Gambling Compliance Ltd 2006


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