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Legal Online Gambling Updagte

By: Adam Baker, Saturday February 19th 2011
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Recently two news items have been released in connection with legal issues for online gambling. One from Holland concerns the future of online gambling in that country. The other is from British Columbia and discusses past mistakes.

The Dutch government has planned to auction a limited number of operating licenses in 2012. Online gambling firms from the Netherlands are opposing this move as indicated in the Dutch newspapers. Presently it is illegal for private online gambling operators to offer services to Dutch punters. The provision of gambling is the sole preserve of Holland's state monopoly company De Lotto and its Holland Casino. At the same time the government is facing a spate of lawsuits from online gambling operators trying to penetrate the Dutch market and citing European Union (EU) regulations and policies of uniform services throughout the union. In a bid to offer lip service to the EU norms and at the same time raise €10 million the Dutch government plans to issue a set number of licenses for online gambling operations. The online gaming foundation Stichting Online Gaming Nederland (STIOGG) has objected stating that that proper regulation can only be achieved if there are an extremely large number of licenses issued for online gambling so that the market is truly competitive.

Objections have also been raised to the government planning to allow Holland Casino to expand its operations. The national audit office has pointed out that casino management is supposed to build on an anti-addiction platform in order to comply with EU law. A monopoly gambling organization expanding casino properties into wider entertainment centres could be seen as allowing gambling addiction if not fostering it.

The Canadian news item refers to the launch of the PlayNow online gambling site by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). Immediately after the PlayNow site went live last year, there was a leak of private information and the site had to be closed for an extended period to make good the breach. Since then the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has been independently investigating the matter and her findings have just been released. The enquiry found that the BCLC had initially not taken adequate steps to protect the privacy of players, but has now addressed this issue fully.

The investigation revealed that a number of security gaps had been inadvertently left when the PlayNow online casino platform was launched, the cumulative effect of which resulted in inadequate protection of customers' personal information. The statement from Denham revealed, "The investigation identified inadequate user access controls and malicious code controls, unencrypted data transmission and gaps in BCLC's privacy management framework." Denham said that security of online gambling platforms cannot be understated because gambling attracts the attention of organised crime. Denham's report made a number of recommendations to BCLC, which have been accepted and implemented by the Corporation.

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