The Gaming Authority is the regulator of the games of the chance market. The Gaming Authority protects consumers, prevents gambling addiction, and combats illegality and crime (public targets).
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The law sets requirements for offering a game of chance. According to the Games of Chance Act, it is prohibited without a license to offer ‘the opportunity to compete for prizes or bonuses’ if the winners are designated by ‘any determination of chance on which the participants generally cannot exercise predominance’. The player also has a responsibility: it is prohibited to participate in a game of chance if the provider does not have a license. The condition for a conviction is that the player was aware of this (Article 1c). The participant risks a fine of 8,200 euros and a criminal record.
In the Guidelines for the Assessment of Games of Chance, the Gaming Authority has further elaborated when there is a game of chance as referred to in the Games of Chance Act and therefore when the Gaming Authority is authorized to supervise. The document was created to provide guidance on the one hand when assessing current and new game offerings. On the other hand, the Gaming Authority provides insight into how it works. In the Guide to the Assessment of Games of Chance, the Games of Chance Act of 1964 is translated into daily practice.
When must a license be applied for in order to offer a game of chance? That is up to the game provider to judge. The Game of Goose is a game of chance (after all: only the dice rolls determine the outcome of the game), but no one will be of the opinion that a license should be applied for or that the Gaming Authority should supervise. In its supervisory and enforcement role, the Gaming Authority looks at the consequences that the game has for the public objectives of the Gaming Authority, in other words, whether there are risks for consumers. The Gaming Authority does not assess game concepts in advance.
Price and influence
An important part of the assessment is whether there is a prize to be won. The Gaming Authority sees game outcomes as prizes if they have an economic value. This is the case if the price is negotiable.
Another important factor is the answer to the question of whether, and if so, to what extent the player has an influence on the outcome. After all, the law says that in order to be able to speak of a game of chance, players cannot exert a ‘predominant’ influence on who wins.
The Gaming Authority distinguishes 2 categories of games:
- Games in which players play against the provider of a game of chance (for example, a slot machine or casino game) and games in which players play against each other. In the first category, players by definition have no predominant influence. Providers have a financial interest in the outcome of the game and will not offer it if they suffer a loss.
- In the second category, game elements must be weighed against each other, as is the case with poker, for example. A player is dependent on the cards he is dealt, but his dexterity also plays a role. The fact that it is not always easy to determine where agility begins and chance ends, proves the fact that the Supreme Court had to come into play in 1998(refers to another website) to determine that poker is a game of chance.