Global Glance: Dutch to Open i-Gaming Market, Italy to Crack Down

Global Glance: Dutch to Open i-Gaming Market, Italy to Crack Down
Europe dominates global online gaming news

The weekly Global Glance looks at the online poker scene around the world. What happens with online poker and gambling beyond America’s borders can and often does impact the state of online poker in the United States.

The news was fast and furious this week with regard to online gambling markets around the world. Some countries are moving forward, as the Dutch prepare to open their market, Malta gets ready to implement its new laws after European Commission approval, and Sweden readies for online gambling applications. Meanwhile, others head in the opposite direction, with countries like Norway, Germany, Italy, and France wanting to place further restrictions and change their current gambling frameworks.

Check out the breakdown here:

Dutch Prepare to Open Gaming Market

Netherlands Gaming Authority CEO Marja Appelman spoke at the Gaming in Holland Conference last week and made some serious points in her keynote speech. She called for innovation in the gambling industry within the boundaries of what is and is not legal. And for that to happen, she noted that the Dutch government needs to pass new laws so the regulator can establish clear boundaries by which operators can function and thrive.

Appelman also pointed out the importance of protecting gamblers, as they must be a top priority for the government, regulator, and operators. This includes preventing customers from accessing illegal online gambling sites, something that approximately 3.5% of the Dutch population currently does.

Days later, Netherlands Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker asked the legislature to reconsider the debate about the Remote Gambling Bill, which passed the lower house in 2016 but has yet to pass the Senate. Dekker noted that the protection offered by online gambling licenses will help consumers, as will initiatives that call for addiction analyses and studies.

The current proposal will also require operators to establish a presence within the Dutch borders in order to obtain a license, as well as to help finance problem gambling solutions. In addition, there may be wording that solidifies the difference between games of chance and skill.

Sweden Prepares for Gaming Applications

With new gambling laws approved by the Swedish government, regulator Lotteriinspektionen now has a list of tasks to complete.

First, the government wants a study on how opening the market to non-Swedish online gambling operators will affect Svenska Spel and ATG, the country’s current monopolies that are set to end their exclusive reign over the market on January 1, 2019. However, the results of the study may not be released until nearly two years after that date.

The regulator just moved up its date to accept applications for online gambling licenses. It had been set for August 1 this year, but Lotteriinspektionen just announced this week that applications will be available as of July 10. Several companies have already inquired about the process.

Norwegian Regulator Hires Paulsen Under Pressure

Norway’s political parties have been demanding serious restrictions for unlicensed, offshore internet gambling operators, such as the blocking of banking transactions, advertising, and accessibility through internet service providers.

To handle the task, gambling regulator Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet put Gunn Merete Paulsen in the position of Director General, one she held from 2011 to 2015. The current director has been pulled from the regulator to serve in the government’s environmental agency, so Paulsen retook her position. She has a little time to settle in as the European Commission reviews the proposed gambling restrictions.

Germany May Review Gambling Laws

The Association of German Gaming Machine Manufacturers took the chance at a recent industry summit to ask the German government to review all gambling regulations. CEO Georg Stecker said that all gambling land-based regulations should be tightened instead of legalizing online gambling.

He cited statistics that showed 20% of all gambling in Germany takes place via black market operators, and Stecker claimed the only way to stop that is to put stricter standards into place with regard to casinos, the lottery, and slot machines.

New Italian Government to Crack Down on Gambling

All signs point to the new coalition government in Italy putting severe restrictions on all types of gambling.

It started this week simply enough, with Italian gaming regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) implementing new anti-money-laundering standards. The primary target is bookmakers, especially online, which had been allowing simplified account registrations.

Other potential changes are more complicated. Italy’s new Deputy Premier, Luigi Di Maio, who also leads the Five Star Movement party, announced on a radio program that online gambling is due for changes. It is a major part of his party’s “dignity decree.”

A new bill floating amongst legislators calls for a ban on all gambling advertising and sponsorships with a focus on internet gambling. Land-based facilities will be affected as well, as the bill proposes the elimination of all slot machines and video lottery terminals throughout the country.

France May Restructure Gambling Framework

The En Marche government in France under Emmanuel Macron confirmed that it will privatize state-owned gambling operator Francaise des Jeux. In order to do so, however, the French Assembly demanded a restructure of the entire framework of national gambling, including online gambling.

While details remain unclear, the primary goal of the restructuring will be to consolidate the country’s regulation of gambling into one regulatory body. Currently, ARJEL handles online gambling, with the Finance Ministry and Agricultural Department handling various other betting activities.

Malta Gambling Laws to Take Effect July 1

While other nations are struggling to restructure and restrict their gambling scenarios, Malta is simply moving forward. The European Commission gave its final approval to the new Gaming Act, and it will take effect on July 1, 2018.

The new system created by the law will consolidate gambling licenses to two categories: business-to-business and business-to-consumer. The Malta Gaming Authority will also have more powers to implement rules to more strongly combat money laundering.

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has been followed the US market closely for the last 7 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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