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Dutch Banks Doubt Blocking of Online Gambling

By: R. Kingsley, Monday November 24th 2008
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Representatives of the Netherlands Bankers Association (NVB) have informed Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin that they consider his plan to fight Dutch online gaming using the power of the Dutch banking systems as impractical and probably not legal.

A spokesperson for the NVB said that the minister wanted the banking system to become "an extension of the justice system" and that this was not the role of the banks in Holland.

The NVB spokesperson continued that he doubted whether the laws which Ballin wanted to pass were legal in light of the European legislation, namely the Betting and Gaming Act. The banks would not cooperate in any clampdown until the Justice Ministry managed to bring an online gaming operator to trial. Only once such a prosecution was made, would the banks refuse to accept online gaming players as their customers.

The Justice Ministry in return said that the recommended laws are based on Dutch law and do not take European law into account. The laws are aimed to fight illegal online gaming within Dutch borders and the banks do not really have room to interpret the laws freely.

The NVB's statement is being seen as a set back for Minister Ballin who has promised the Dutch Senate that he would put an end to the outflow of hundreds of millions of Euros which leave the country every year through 'illegal' online gaming operators.

The new laws being passed by Justice Minister Ballin are not the only ones being criticized at the moment. The Dutch financial community is also questioning new online gaming tax regulations in which national and foreign online gaming providers are being treated differently. This is considered as a clear breach of EU law.

Justice Minister Ballin had intended to present complete details of the proposed legislation to a panel of lawmakers by the end of the year, but this presentation will most probably be delayed due to recent opposition.

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