On 30 January 2015, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justices announced a public consultation on a draft proposal of the Modernization Casinos Regime Act. This draft legislative proposal must reform the Dutch casino market and privatize Holland Casino. Stakeholders are invited to submit their views. The consultation ends on 28 March 2015.
On 11 July 2014, the Dutch government gave the go ahead for far-reaching reforms in the Dutch gambling policy. To that end, the government submitted a legislative proposal on remote gambling to Parliament. Together with the proposal on remote gambling, a letter from the Minister on the future of the lottery market and a policy paper on the casino market was sent to the Parliament.
It followed from that policy paper on the casino market that the organisation of games of chance is no longer a public task and that it, therefore, has decided to privatise (semi-)state owned Holland Casino. Currently, Holland Casino is the only legal provider of casino games in the Netherlands. Moreover, it followed from the policy paper that the Minister intended to reform the whole casino market by opening up the market even further and accepting new operators.
These intentions have now been laid down in a draft legislative proposal on the modernisation of the casinos regime. The draft legislative proposal has been published on 30 January 2015. Holland Casino will be sold and competition will be created by allowing other parties to compete for a permit to organize a casino. The purpose of the legislative proposal is further to direct the demand towards legal channels. The draft legislative proposal and the accompanying explanation include the following:
- Privatisation Holland Casino The privatisation of Holland Casino must take place in or before 2017. The sale of fourteen establishments of Holland Casino will be divided into two blocks: the sale of ten establishments together (to one operator: the privatized entity of Holland Casino) and the sale of four individual establishments.
- Number of licenses The casino market will be opened up even further in 2017. However, in the first 15 years, the casino market will only be opened up to a limited extent. Only 16 licenses will be provided (as to 14 licenses now).
- Geographical distribution Further, these licenses will be distributed over 5 regions within the Netherlands, in order to prevent some parts of the country having an accumulation of casinos.
- Award procedure The licenses will be granted by means of an auction, whereby the operator with the highest bid will be granted the permit (assuming that the operator fulfills all other requirements, such as having a responsible, verifiable and reliable organization of the casino games). However, the first time, ten of the licenses will be granted to the privatized entity of Holland Casino. Moreover, the Minister can decide to grant four of the remaining six licenses through a different procedure than an auction. In this way, the Minister can add conditions, such as the acquisition of assets or personal of the former establishments of Holland Casino.
Stakeholders can submit their views on the legislative proposal until 28 March 2015.