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After weeks of discussions on the Dutch Remote Gambling Act (RGA) that will modernize and regulate online gambling in the country, senators will finally get to vote on the bill on February 19.

Once the bill is passed, unlicensed online operators who have been “actively” targeting the Dutch market could face a blackout period which has been proposed to a minimum of at least two years.

There were also proposals for a five-year cooling-off period. However, the Minister of Justice, Sander Dekker, the original proponent of the legislation, found that a two-year time-out a “reasonable” period; according to him, a five-year period “might be disproportionate and thus legally vulnerable.”

Defining “Active”

There is a lot of ambiguity as to how “actively” is defined by the Dutch regulators. Technically, until the new system is in place, all forms of unlicensed online gambling is considered illegal in the Netherlands. This would mean that all the foreign operators, including the likes of PokerStars, who allow Dutch players to play in their site would be deemed illegal and face a blackout.

However, during the first week of discussion in Senate, the Minister hinted that if they were to exclude everyone who has been serving Dutch players, it would hurt “player channeling rate” and hence undermine the purpose of the bill.