Update on online gambling bill: which phase are we at?

After the Dutch Lower House election on the 15th of March, the fear amongst most of the gambling world was the fact that the bill might be declared controversial. With a big feeling of relief we’ve learned that the bill on online gambling will not be declared controversial by the Dutch Senate.

Declaring bills controversial

After new Lower House elections, the Dutch Senate has the possibility to declare bills controversial during the reforms of the new government. Bills are declared controversial if the Senate beliefs that the bill would have another outcome under the new government. If the online gambling law would have been declared controversial, it would mean that the Lower House needs to vote and debate over the bill again. With the gambling opposed political party CDA as a potential candidate in the government reforms, declaring the online gambling bill controversial would be a disaster.

The Bill

The online gambling bill already is the most discussed bill ever. In the history of Dutch democracy, no bill has ever taken so long to pass, as the online gambling bill. In the Dutch billing process, a few steps need to be cleared in order for a bill to pass:

– at the beginning, a minister or ministry needs to form a so-called “concept proposal” of the bill.

-next up, this concept bill is discussed by the council of ministers. This council contains all ministers from the government and is led by the prime minister.

– After discussing the bill in the council of ministers, the bill gets send to the council of state. This is a council which advises the government about bills and reforms. p>

– next up, the bill gets discussed and voted on in the Dutch Lower House.

– If the bill passes the Dutch Lower House, it will be taken to the Dutch Senate. The Dutch Senate decides if the bill gets final. p>

What phase are we right now?

On the 18th of April 2017, one of the last steps was taken in completing the bill. The Dutch Senate handed in their analyzation of the bill. This analyzation of the bill means that the bill has been discussed in a debate, and checked by a committee that only contains Senate members. In this analyzation, questions about the bill can be asked to the government/lower house. The analyzation can be approved or denied depending on the answers that are given. After it is approved, the bill will be added to the agenda of the Dutch Senate. The only thing that needs to be done after that is a plenary debate and a vote about the bill. At the moment, it is not clear when or if the analyzation will be approved or denied. If the analyzation gets denied, the Lower House must add new input to the answers.

If the analyzation gets approved, the question of when the bill discussed by the Senate still stands. It is still unclear if the 1st of January 2018, that was set as deadline for opening the online gambling market, will be made.

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