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VMW Taxand´s Gaming, Sports & Entertainment practice group´s Annual Gaming Industry Event

June 19, 2012 News & Reports

25 May 2012, Amsterdam

For those who were able to attend our Annual Gaming Industry Event 2012 we hope that this will serve as a gentle reminder about the debates which took place and the (political) backdrop against which we met. If you were unable to attend then hopefully this will give you an impression of what took place at the end of May.

Recent months have seen much activity in the Netherlands in the gambling sphere with the road to the regulation of the remote sector being delayed by the recent fall of the government. This relatively young government was formed in October 2010 and heralded a change of attitude towards regulating gambling and took a far more positive approach towards remote gambling than preceding cabinets. Not afraid of seeking to change the regulatory landscape it collapsed under the strain of budgetary negotiations for 2013 at the end of April 2012. A parliamentary meeting to discuss this very topic at the end of May was cancelled and reform was formally suspended with the so-called ‘Lenteakkoord’ in which a wider coalition of parties agreed the budgetary cuts which seemed impossible in April. Unfortunately the State Secretary for Security and Justice, Fred Teeven, was therefore unable to speak at our event.

This presented an excellent opportunity for the first public appearance of Jan Suyver in his capacity as chairman of the Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) which became operational on 1 April 2012, who we were honoured to host.

National regulation of remote gambling requires international perspectives and to engage the audience with the Danish regulatory regime for remote gambling Birgitte Sand, Director of the Danish Gambling Authority, gave a presentation on both regulatory and market developments.

Jan Suyver – Gaming Authority

Jan Suyver began by recalling the administrative enforcement instruments which the Authority can rely upon to flex its power including fines, recurring penalties and ultimately the revocation of licences. Nevertheless he informed the audience that it will be worth talking with the Authority as they will not turn to delivering sanctions immediately.

Further, he noted that the Authority will award licences in a modern manner allowing scope for product innovation.

Suyver was quite clear on the blacklisting situation surrounding the blocking of financial transaction services. He noted that in a letter to be published towards operators on the blacklist that the list will be enforced as of 1 June 2012. However, operators on what was referred to as the ‘transition list’, i.e. those who were served cease and desist letters but complied with the conditions of the State Secretary, will not bear the burden of any enforcement measures.

Suyver noted: “We are here, and you will notice that”.

Unfortunately however, Suyver was unable to offer any clarity as to the timeframe for the regulatory reforms and the shape of the future regulation.

More information about the Gaming Authority can be found on its website: www.kansspelautoriteit.nl

Birgitte Sand – Danish Gambling Authority

Birgitte Sand gave an overview the Danish regulatory experience with the creation of an online regulated market. Having introduced the regulatory structure and chronology of regulation in Denmark, she outlined the new market landscape.

Given the interest in the Danish model of regulation Sand sketched various aspects of the regime, including the requirements for undertakings to qualify for a licence, application fees and duties, how her Authority seeks to build meaningful dialogue and trust with licensees, and player protection measures. This provided the opportunity for an explanation of the Danish measures including the central register for excluded players, reflecting a much debated point in Dutch politics.

Interestingly she outlined the nature of bilateral agreements with other regulators and the sanctions which the Authority can deliver.

The Danish market is open to an unlimited number of operators, with market entry being determined by strict conditions on licence applicants. Of 51 applications in October 2011 a total of 39 licences were issued in January 2012 (30 online casino, 19 betting and 7 restricted revenue).

Not all of Denmark´s permitted forms of gambling have been opened to competition and no cannibalisation of the monopoly has emerged. However Sand noted that the regime has been very successful in channelling demand from Danish residents regarding remote games to the services of licensees of the Danish Gambling Authority.

Looking forward to 2013!

We look forward to meeting you at next year’s event and hopefully our paths will cross somewhere before then too!

VMW Taxand’s Gaming, Sports & Entertainment practice group

Justin Franssen, Marjan Olfers, Alan Littler, Frank Tolboom & Younes Moussaoui

With much valued support from Cindy Beckerschmidt, Christine Kilfeather & Eva Baas

See the full pdf version here: Annual Gaming Industry Event – Report 25 May 2012

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