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In the Netherlands, you may require 2 permits from the municipal authorities if you want to place gaming machines in your catering establishment:
- an operating permit issued by the Netherlands Gaming Authority
- a municipal gaming machine permit
You also require a permit from the municipal authorities for operating an amusement arcade. Only those gaming machines that have officially been admitted to the Dutch market, are allowed. Manufacturers and importers need to a gaming machine type licence (in Dutch). They can apply for this licence (pdf) to the Netherlands Gaming Authority.
Gaming machine permit
There are 3 types of gaming machines:
- machines on which you play games of chance (such as slot machines)
- machines on which you play games of skill (for example pinball machines)
- funfair machines (for instance claw grabbers)
You must obtain a gaming machine permit from the local municipal authority before placing a game-of-chance machine in a catering establishment. For installing a game-of-skill machine you do not require a gaming machine permit. The gaming machine permit applies to one particular location or outlet. A separate permit is required for each of the catering establishment’s locations or outlets.
You must report changes (e.g. in operations or number of gaming machines) to the municipal authorities in writing. You may have to apply for a new permit, or have it altered.
Permit for operating gaming machines
You need a permit for operating gaming machines, if you want to use gaming machines commercially or allow third parties to use them. You can obtain the operating permit (in Dutch) from the Games of Chance Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, Ksa). The permit is subject to conditions relating to the organisation of your business and the conduct of the applicant, administrator and manager. That is why after your application, the Games of Chance Authority will perform a background check of your company and the persons involved.
Amusement arcade permit
If you want to run an amusement arcade, you will need an amusement arcade permit from your local municipality. Most municipalities have a limit on the number of amusement arcades.
The amusement arcade permit consists of a permit to operate gaming machines and a permit to have gaming machines on your premises. You can use one form to apply for both permits.
Information about requirements as regards establishing the arcade and the maximum number of arcades can be found in the General Municipal By-Law (Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening, APV).
Duty of care
If you offer a game of chance, you have a duty of care:
- You must ensure that minors cannot play games of chance. Minors are only allowed to play machines that offer games of skill and funfair machines. Machines on which you play games of vchance are only for adults (18 years of age and up).
- You must have measures in place to prevent addiction. You must inform players and keep an eye out for them. If you notice players waging a lot of money and/or playing for a long time, you must intervene.
If you are a manager of an amusement arcade, you must have Statutory Proof (Wettelijk Bewijsstuk). You obtain the Statutory Evidence after successful completion of a level 2 course on problems with games of chance (cursus kansspelproblematiek). For your staff, a level 1 course is sufficient. In either case, the course must be completed within 1 year after the date of entry into employment.
There are several suppliers in the Netherlands who offer this kind of training.
Payment options gaming machines
In your catering establishment or amusement arcade clients are allowed to pay with coins or paper money up to €50. You can also use an electronic payment system (cashless play). In that case your clients need a chip or smartcard with which they can operate the gaming machines. To be able to offer this service, you will need an exemption from the Games of Chance Authority (Kansspelautoriteit).
Online application procedure via Message Box
With Message Box, you can apply for an operating permit to the Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit). With Message Box, you can also apply for the gaming machine permit and the permit to operate an amusement arcade from the municipality. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.