In the (endless) political discussions about the regulation of online gambling, "he often comes back. We are talking about the Bouwmeester motion. Online casinos and bookmakers are more afraid of the Bouwmeester motion today than of a player who wins a lot of money on Book of Dead or another high-variance slot machine.
But what exactly is the Bouwmeester motion? And what are the consequences of this Bouwmeester motion? CasinoJager explains it to you.
What is a motion at all?
Members of parliament can request something from the government or ask for something. Often motions are submitted to supplement or clarify a law, especially by the opposition. For example on the Distance Games Act. Also called the KOA.
The Distance Gambling Act does not in itself state anything about who should or should not receive a license. The precise conditions are reflected in so-called lower regulations. This lower regulation is often made after a law is voted in the Lower House.
The Distance Gambling Act does state that channeling is the goal. Channelization means the extent to which online gamblers gamble online through a legal provider. The government wants to regulate online gambling so that strict conditions can be imposed on gambling sites and can also supervise gambling sites with a license. In this way, the government itself can oversee fair play and player protection by casinos instead of relying on foreign regulators.
What does the Bouwmeester motion prescribe?
The SP, the Labor Party and the CDA are critical of the Distance Games of Chance Act. These parties are particularly annoyed by casinos that – without the law in force – offer online games of chance from countries such as Curacao and Malta. Parties such as Holland Casino and the land-based gambling sector are afraid that, if the law is in force, they will soon start lagging behind gambling sites that have been active for years. They have conducted a strong lobby to limit the arrival of foreign parties on the Dutch online market as much as possible.
Politicians turned out to be sensitive to this. In addition, the SP, Labor Party and the CDA have little confidence that gambling sites that did not comply with the rules for regulation will do so after regulation. They would prefer to only give permits to Holland Casino, a few Dutch gambling hall chains, the Toto and the Charity Lotteries. However, that is contrary to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
To keep foreign providers who are already active as much as possible, MPs Lea Bouwmeester (PvdA), Madeleine van Toorenburg (CDA) and Nine Kooiman (SP) submitted a motion. In this motion they request the government to ensure that illegal gambling providers do not qualify for a license. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Bouwmeester motion narrowly made it. 85 of the 150 members of the House of Representatives voted in favor. VVD, PVV and D’66 voted against the Bouwmeester motion.
How is this motion put into practice?
The big question is how this motion will be explained. Parties who are critical of regulation would like to see that access to the market remains blocked for gambling sites that are already active. The senators of the Labor Party, for example, want a trial to be conducted with a limited number of permit holders and that parties that are already active on the Dutch market should be banned.
Sander Dekker, Minister of Legal Protection, is not interested in this. He gave figures to the senators of the Labor Party. The Norwegians have such a monopoly and have a low canalization. The Danes, on the other hand, score good canalization, especially since there is an attractive range of legal games on offer.
Dekker wants to take the Bouwmeester motion into account, but does not exclude all international gambling sites that are already active. He fears that this is a disproportionate measure that cannot be sustained in legal proceedings. That is why Dekker does allow it to be taken into account in the assessment but is not of decisive importance.
Dekker stated that gambling sites that had been fined in the first few years are not eligible for a license. That is bad news for gambling providers who have had a fine, such as William Hill.