The main objective is to protect consumers from gambling addiction. The Ksa has not been active for very long, namely only since April 1, 2012. Before that, the ‘Board of Supervision of Games of Chance’ kept an eye on things. Sander Dekker, Minister for Legal Protection (Justice and Security), is now responsible for the Dutch gambling policy.
What does the Games of Chance Authority do?
Since April 1, 2012, the Dutch Gaming Authority is committed to a safe gaming environment and a fair supply of games of chance in the Netherlands. Their main goals include:
- Protecting players
- Preventing gambling addiction
- Combat illegality and crime
Tasks of the Games of Chance Authority (Source: Kansspelautoriteit.nl)
What can the Games of Chance Authority do for you?
The Games of Chance Authority has a number of important functions. In the first instance, they deal with addiction prevention policy. Minors (under the age of 18) are not allowed to gamble legally in the Netherlands. Gambling providers must take measures to ensure that a gambling addiction is prevented. In case of risky gambling behavior, the provider must intervene and offer them help and/or refer them to independent help agencies. Furthermore, the Ksa monitors the fairness of the games on offer and combats crime. By complying with the Distance Gaming Act, illegal gaming providers have no chance in the Dutch gambling industry. This ensures a safe gaming environment for Dutch consumers.
Is it permitted to organize a game of chance yourself?
In the Netherlands it is not permitted for everyone to organize a game of chance. In the Netherlands, one must comply with the Act on Remote Gaming and in most situations a gaming license is required. A condition of it is also that you donate at least 50% to charities. In most cases, you are only allowed to play as an adult.
Screenshot from the website of the Dutch Gaming Authority
The powers of the Games of Chance Authority
As a regulator of the gaming market, the Kansspelautoriteit has a number of administrative enforcement instruments at its disposal. These are as follows:
- Administrative fine: The Games of Chance Authority is authorized to impose a fine on games of chance providers that violate the laws and regulations. The fine may be imposed without the intervention of the Public Prosecution Service. The maximum fine is €830,000 or 10 percent (whichever is higher) of the annual turnover of the gaming provider.
- Charge under administrative order: The board can take measures if it catches a gaming provider in the act of violating the law. In case of a violation they can impose an order under administrative coercion on the violator.
- Penalty payment: A penalty payment can be imposed whereby the board indicates within which period an end must be put to the violation. If the violator does not comply with this, the imposed penalty must be paid.
- Public Prosecution Service: If administrative enforcement has failed, the Public Prosecution Service can be called in as a last resort. The gaming authority does this when there are repeated violations of the remote gaming law. Only when administrative law does not work or when organized crime is involved will this be used.
The Dutch Gaming Authority has three public goals. As a regulator of the gaming market, the Kansspelautoriteit is working hard to ensure that all the rules in the bill KoA (Remote Gaming Act) are complied with. Read more about the main objectives of the Ksa below:
- Consumer protection: Gambling providers must inform their consumers sufficiently and in a timely manner about the possible risks that gambling entails. It is important that they clearly state conditions such as costs, prices or subscription duration. The Games of Chance Authority ensures that gambling providers comply with this duty in the correct manner.
- Gambling addiction: The Games of Chance Authority considers it important that the right measures are taken to prevent gambling addiction. It is a condition that gambling providers have a duty of care. The Act on Remote Gaming (February 19, 2019) states; if consumers show deviant gaming behavior, they should be addressed and / or referred for more help.
- Illegality & criminality: One of the goals of the Gaming Authority is to ensure that consumers are assured of fair play. By combating illegal gaming (online & physical) they create a safe gaming environment. The Chancellor’s Authority also supports various municipalities in detecting and tackling illegal gambling. Think of gambling kiosks where illegal bets are placed.
The Games of Chance Authority works together with other regulators such as the police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Tax Department and payment service providers. An agreement has been concluded with the organizations listed below:
- Ministry of Security and Justice
- Public Prosecutor’s Office
- Payment service providers
- Media parties
- Tax authorities
- Consumer and Market Authority
On the international front, the Gaming Authority is active in the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) and the European Gambling Regulatory European Forum (GREF). It shares information and exchanges knowledge with the above parties.
The distinction between different games of chance
The Gaming Authority distinguishes between different types of legal games of chance. Promotional games of chance and small games of chance do not require a gaming license, but they must comply with the rules. The Gaming Authority supervises games of chance such as slot machines, casino games (Holland Casino), lotteries and betting.
Promotional games of chance
Promotional games of chance include fun Like & Win actions on FB. These games of chance are intended to promote products or services. Under the Gaming Act, no license can be granted for the organization of promotional games of chance. However, there are conditions to adhere to. The main conditions that an organization or organizer must adhere to are:
- Participants may not be asked to deposit money.
- Per organization, service or product, a game of chance may be offered for promotion maximum once a year.
- Promotional games of chance are temporary in nature and may contain a maximum of 20 draws. The maximum period for promotional games of chance is one year.
- There must be no costs associated with a promotional game of chance, other than the communication costs incurred of up to €0.45.
- The general terms and conditions of an organization must be clearly set out and made available to participants.
- Cash prizes up to a maximum of €100,000.
- Parental consent is required if a minor wishes to participate. If a promotional game of chance is aimed at minors, prices must be adjusted to suit this sensitive target group.
Furthermore, organizations may organize a ‘small promotional game of chance’. In this case the prize package may not exceed €4,500. The difference between a ‘normal promotional game of chance’ is that no general terms and conditions are drawn up and there is no limit on the number of draws that are made.
Smaller games of chance (Bingo)
Article 7c of the Betting and Gaming Act states that you do not need a license to organize bingo or any other similar ‘small games of chance’. However, there are conditions which the organizer must comply with. If the conditions are not met, there is no possibility of organizing a bingo game.
Other examples of a small game of chance are the bird’s-eye game (a board with round circles and the forerunner of darts), and the wheel of fortune, known from television (with Hans van der Togt and Leontine Ruiters), the Holland Casino (Money Wheel) or played in live casinos (Live Dream Catcher). See below for the conditions for being allowed to organize small games of chance:
- The mayor of the municipality where the game of chance will take place must be contacted 14 days in advance.
- Information such as time and location must be provided. The municipality may choose to prohibit the game of chance or impose requirements.
- Organizers must be Dutch associations or foundations that have been in existence for at least 3 years.
- The association organizing the small game of chance must have a clear objective and it should not be to organize games of chance.
- Prizes may not exceed €400 per series or set. In total, the value of the amounts to be won must not exceed €1,550 per organized event.
Minors are allowed to participate in a small game of chance, unless otherwise stipulated by the municipality.
Casino games (Holland Casino)
The Gaming Act describes that the Chancellor’s Office can grant one license per legal entity to organize a “gaming casino”. A gaming casino is a gambling facility where common games of chance are organized. These are not powered by software, but are led by human dealers and croupiers. Casino games in the Holland Casino with dealers and croupiers include poker, blackjack, roulette and punto banco. The organization of gaming casinos was approved in 1975 when licenses were granted to the Holland Casino. The Holland Casino belongs to the State and revenues accrue to the treasury, after deducting distributed prizes and costs incurred.
In 1986 the licenses were extended so that it also became possible to offer slot machines. At present the Netherlands has a total of 14 Holland Casino establishments. The Kansspelautoriteit is the supervisory authority for Holland Casino. They focus mainly on money laundering and crime. Since 2016, the Chancellor’s Office exercises supervision whereby unusual transactions must be reported. Furthermore, more investigation of clients should be done in relation to crime and money laundering.
The modernization of Holland Casino is imminent. The government has decided to privatize Holland Casino. In this way they are partially opening up the casino market to others. The bill for this is currently in the Senate. When the bill will pass is not yet entirely clear. In 2016 and 2017, bills entitled ‘Remote Gaming’ and ‘Modernization of the gaming casino regime’ were passed. On February 19, 2019, the Senate voted in favor of the Gaming Bill and has put the bill modernizing Holland Casinos on hold for a while.
There are three types of gaming machines found in the Netherlands. There are three types of gaming machines in the Netherlands: slot machines, which only adults are allowed to play, dexterity machines and funfair machines. Permits are required in order to market a gaming machine in the Netherlands. For this purpose, you need a presence permit, model permit and operating permit. For an amusement machine, only a model licence and an operating licence are required. Fairground vending machines may be placed in locations that the municipalities consider to be fairgrounds.
Model approval: A model approval must be requested from the Kansspel Authority in order to market a gaming machine or skill machine in the Netherlands. The Games of Chance Authority checks whether the gaming machine satisfies the statutory requirements. The model permit specifies the requirements that a gaming machine must meet.
Operating licence: In addition to a model licence, an operating licence is also required. The Gambling Authority investigates the integrity of the applicant on the basis of the Bibob Act. This makes it possible to check whether the applicant has a criminal past. Changes at licensees may give cause to start an investigation. The operator is required to monitor players and to be able to indicate that they have done enough to prevent a gambling addiction.
Presence permit: A presence permit is required in order to place a gaming machine anywhere. This permit can be applied for at the municipality where the gaming machine is operated. However, a model admission and exploitation licence are required before a permit can be applied for from the municipality. The municipality is free to determine the area in which gaming machines are considered ‘low threshold’ or ‘high threshold’.
Type of gaming machines
With a gaming machine the outcome of the game is purely based on random outcomes. Wins come in the form of money or give the right to play for free for other prizes. There are casino machines, arcade machines and hospitality machines that belong to the category of gambling machines. Depending on where they are set up, the law sets different requirements for a gaming machine.
- Casino slot machine: In a casino slot machine, the maximum bet allowed is €150 and it has a minimum payout percentage of above 80%. The maximum loss per hour is unlimited and minimum time between each spin should be proportionally equivalent to a bet of $0.20 every 3 seconds. The maximum payout of the casino slot machines are unlimited.
- Slot machines: Slot machines have a maximum bet of €0.20 and offer a minimum payout ratio of over 60%. The average loss per hour is $40 and there must be 3 seconds between each spin. The maximum payout for these slot machines is 200 times your original bet.
- Hospitality machine: A maximum bet of €0.20 per spin is available and a minimum payout percentage of 60% is offered. Furthermore, there must be 3.5 seconds between each spin and your average hourly loss is a maximum of €40. The maximum payouts of the hospitality machine are 200 times the bet.
A skill machine is a game where players have an influence on the course of the game. It is not possible to win cash prizes. However, the possibility of extending the playing time is possible. There is also a funfair machine with a grab crane, for example, to win cuddly toys. These may represent a value of up to 40 times the stake. When the gaming authority has doubts, the provider must demonstrate that it is actually a fairground machine. The Gaming Act makes an exception for fairground machines and does not require an operating license.
The Gaming Act has placed many restrictions on the providers eligible to offer betting. Two types of betting are possible, sports betting and horse racing. It is not possible to bet on the results of, for example, the Olympic Games or the Eurosong festival.
The Chancellor’s Office may issue one license for both forms of betting. As of February 19, 2019, the Bill on Remote Gambling was passed by the Senate. Soon it will be possible for gambling companies to offer sports betting on the Dutch market under strict conditions. See below for which the law has made two exceptions:
- Sports betting: Currently, the Kansspelautoriteit has granted a license to the Toto, which is part of the Dutch Lottery. Further rules apply such as a large part of the proceeds take place to sports umbrella NOC*NSF, a Dutch sports organization with the aim of promoting sports in the Netherlands. Live betting is not allowed and restrictions apply to participants under the age of 25.
- Horse racing: Sportech Racing B.V. has a license from the Dutch Gambling Authority to organize horse races. They do this under their brand name Runnerz. The company has the right to offer bets on horse races and hard-turns as an organizer.
In the Netherlands you have several lotteries. A gaming license from the Kansspelautoriteit is required to organize a lottery. There are exceptions to this rule if the lottery is organized under the conditions of a promotional game of chance. It is possible for the Gaming Authority to grant a license for multi-year or one-off lotteries. There are also multi-year lotteries such as ‘non-recurring charity lotteries’ and ‘monopoly lotteries’.
One-time lottery: A one-time lottery can be applied for at the municipality if prizes are less than €4,500. The municipality is authorized to grant a permit once. If a higher amount is involved then the Gaming Authority will be the grantor of the license. Rules apply to one-time lotteries such as:
– Dedicating a minimum of 50 percent to the public benefit purpose.
– A maximum of 13 draws may be held during the term of the license. Each draw does allow for more prizes to be raffled off.
– A permit is valid for a maximum of 6 months. Both the sale of lottery tickets and the advertising of the lottery must take place within these 6 months.
– Three months after the last lottery draw a financial report must be submitted to the licensing authority (municipality or the Dutch Gambling Authority).
– The organization or organizer must pay gaming tax to the tax authorities. This may be deducted from the prices, but not in all cases.
– The processing for a license application may involve costs. The organization must pay a gaming tax to the Dutch Gambling Authority if the revenue exceeds €1 million.
Multi-year lottery: A permit for a multi-year lottery allows an organization to organize a lottery more often. A distinction is made between charity lotteries and monopoly lotteries. How it works and who has such licenses are listed below.
Examples of licensed monopoly lotteries are the Staatsloterij and Lotto. They are both part of the Dutch Lottery. According to the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act, the Gaming Authority can issue one license for organizing one state lottery, instant lottery or lottery game.
Non-incidental charity lotteries
Non-incidental charity lotteries have no limit on number. The Gaming Act states that a license may be applied for if the lottery supports charities with at least 50 percent of the proceeds of tickets sold. At least 80 percent of this 50 percent must go to a charity with an Anbi-status (generally beneficial institutions). The remaining 20 percent must go to entities that promote sports, social welfare, culture, development work or health care.
Licensees licensed to organize non-incidental charity lotteries are: Nationale Postcodeloterij, Vriendenloterij, Samenwerkende Non-profit Lotteries (in partnership), BankGiroloterij, Fair Share, Impact Lottery and Lottovate. These licences have a term of more than six months. Each licensee must comply with all regulations in the model license.
Holders of a license to offer games of chance must pay a gaming levy. The proceeds go to the Dutch Gaming Authority.
Legalization of online gambling in the Netherlands
The old law on gambling had remained unchanged since 1964. At that time, no one knew how popular online gambling would become in the Netherlands. The Kansspelautoriteit has indicated several times that they have too little means to act against an illegal online gambling offer. Since February 19, 2019, the Kansspelautoriteit has more powers to better protect consumers. Moreover, this allows them to better guarantee the fairness of games. Furthermore, they focus on vulnerable groups such as minors in order to combat gambling addiction.
Online games of chance are games where players can participate remotely through an online casino site or application on a mobile device. Examples include Toto and Runnerz. However, these are the only two that operate legally in the Netherlands. They have a license from the Dutch Gaming Authority to offer sports betting, hard-trials and horse racing. Licenses are expected to be issued to other foreign providers by the end of 2020. These are currently required to turn Dutch players away from their websites. They do this through ‘geoblocking’, which ensures that Dutch IP addresses do not see their websites.
Removal of gambling applications
An oversight action by the Gaming Authority in 2016, resulted in no less than 55 gambling applications disappearing from the appstore. Initially 49 were removed, then another 6 so-called “real money gambling apps”. It is estimated that in this way the Dutch Gambling Authority prevented tens of thousands of downloads in a period of only four months. The gambling apps were very popular during, for example, the European Football Championship, Premier League of Darts, Olympic Games and Tour de France. The apps were removed because there was not enough oversight of the offer and therefore no control over the fairness of the games of chance. It also allows minors to participate and causes more gaming addiction.
Criteria which online providers of games of chance must adhere to
The internet offers an enormous range of online games of chance. The Games of Chance Authority aims to combat providers of games of chance that target the Dutch market. Initially 49 were removed, then another 6 so-called “real money gambling apps”. It is estimated that in this way the Dutch Gambling Authority prevented tens of thousands of downloads in a period of only four months. The gambling apps were very popular during, for example, the European Football Championship, Premier League of Darts, Olympic Games and Tour de France. The apps were removed because there was not enough oversight of the offer and therefore no control over the fairness of the games of chance. It also allows minors to participate and causes more gaming addiction.
- Criteria which online providers of games of chance must adhere to
- The internet offers an enormous range of online games of chance. The Games of Chance Authority aims to combat providers of games of chance that target the Dutch market. The Ksa has set certain prioritization criteria on how they determine if a provider has targeted Dutch consumers, such as:
- Websites that use the Dutch language.
Websites using the extension .nl.
Providers that advertise on TV, radio or through printed media.
Of course, this does not mean that a provider who meets one or more criteria has free rein. On June 1, 2017, the Gaming Authority took an additional step to improve their approach. In doing so, they focus on gaming providers that typically use terms or symbols that are Dutch related. Take for example windmills, clogs or tulips. Furthermore, Dutch payment methods that are used exclusively by Dutch people, such as iDEAL, may not be used.
Legislation for online gambling
Gambling with real money
Distance Gaming ActThe new Distance Gaming Act (passed on February 19, 2019) will most likely enter into force in mid-2020 / late 2020. The Minister for Legal Protection (Justice and Security) Sander Dekker is accountable for the gaming policy. It looks like the Kansspelautoriteit will now finally get to work on drafting the licensing conditions. Gambling companies are eager to get a gaming license and will undergo a review before a license is issued. Each business or owner must adhere to the terms and conditions and is carefully monitored.
The Kansspelautoriteit does not allow foreign providers to target the Dutch market. Do they? If they do, the Ksa may fine them or impose a penalty payment. If a penalty is imposed, the gaming provider must put an end to the violation within a certain period of time. Another condition is that better measures must be taken in the field of addiction prevention policy. For example, one of the requirements is participation in the Central Register of Exclusion of Gambling (CRUKS). This is a large database containing the data of excluded players. In this way, it is possible to exclude these players from other gambling providers in the future.
Online games of chance
On 19 February, the amendment to the Betting and Gaming Act was adopted by the Senate. As a result, gambling companies may in the future be eligible for a Dutch gaming license. The Dutch Gaming Authority will issue these. Products that may be offered legally in the Netherlands include poker, bingo, casino games, slot machines and sports betting. Online games of chance will probably be legally accessible from the Netherlands by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
The Bill on Remote Gambling contains strict measures that gambling providers must adhere to. For example, they must donate a portion of their revenues to sports and charities. Furthermore, it is important that consumers are well protected against gambling addiction. For this purpose, CRUKS is used, which can exclude players or allow players to be excluded voluntarily. Furthermore, the limit of winning €454 in the gaming tax is reduced to €250. Most likely this will be for both online and offline gaming.
A licensee shall not allow minors to participate in online gambling until it has been actually determined whether the person is 18 years of age or older. It must be prevented that minors can pretend to be adults. For this reason, there are stricter requirements for identification and verification of the consumer. For example, a Citizen Service Number from your identity card will be required to register an account. Also, a verification payment through a personalized payment instrument can be requested.
The adopted bill KoA (Remote Gaming) is the first step towards modernizing the gaming policy. Until online gambling is fully legalized and regulated in the Netherlands, there are only foreign parties that offer remote gambling. We recommend that you always choose to gamble online at a website that holds a Dutch gaming license from the Kansspelautoriteit.
Sanctions and fines
The Kansspelautoriteit has regularly issued fines to gambling providers since its establishment. On the Ksa website, everything is made public in order to inform consumers as well as possible of the possible risks they run by playing with these providers. Fines have been imposed on gaming providers before. On March 1, 2019, the Ksa increased the fines for illegal online gambling offerings to a starting fine of €200,000. This was previously €150,000. There are updated fine policies that start from a starting fine and then look at what specific violations have been done. Based on the situation and/or violations, the fine can be increased or decreased.
- In 2018 alone, over 1.7 million in fines were imposed on gaming providers who committed a violation. These were 23 penalties, 12 charges under penalty and 4 charges under administrative coercion. Never before had the Chancellor’s Authority imposed such a large amount of fines. Among the parties fined were Mr Green, Bet-at-Home, WHG International, CyberRock and Corona. Of the 7 administrative fines, 5 were related to online games of chance in the Netherlands.
- A small selection of the number of fines handed out by the Kansspelautoriteit to online providers:
- On January 28, Come On casino was fined €180,000 for having a Dutch-language website and customer service.
- On December 14, 2018, this WHG (William Hill) was fined €300,000 for being accessible from the Netherlands. Furthermore, the drop down navigation menu displayed ‘the Netherlands’ and customer service was available. Moreover, payment could also be made with the well-known Dutch iDEAL.
- On November 2, 2018, the company CyberRock Entertainment N.V. was fined €300,000. a €350,000 fine for offering online games of chance in the Netherlands through multiple websites. Also, after logging into a registered account, you could switch the website from the English language to Dutch.
On February 25, 2019, the Kansspelautoriteit fined 2 companies behind illegal gambling websites. A fine of €400,000 was imposed. These are gambling companies 1X Corp N.V. on Curacao and Exinvest Limited on Cyprus. Investigations revealed that for a certain period of time the websites were accessible from the Netherlands.
On April 1, 2019, the Chancellor’s Office will issue a fine of €310,000 to the Maltese company Casumo Services Limited. René Jansen, chairman of the board of the Ksa states that offering games of chance in the Netherlands without a license is prohibited. Casumo was fined for offering the payment method iDEAL. On all pages of the website it was possible to pay with iDEAL, about eight hundred in total.
History of the Kansspelautoriteit
Previously, the Gaming Supervisory Authority supervised games of chance offered in the Netherlands. On January 1, 1996 the college was established and on April 1, 2012 it was replaced by the Ksa, or Kansspelautoriteit. It supervised compliance with the Games of Chance Act, now called the Remote Gaming Act. Licensed operators such as the Bankgiro Lottery, Sponsor Lottery, Nederlandse Staatsloterij, Postcode Loterij, Lotto and Holland Casino had, until then, always been scrutinized by the Gaming Regulatory Board. The Board was an independent administrative body and the Board advised the Minister on the amendment, revocation or granting of gaming licenses.