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Netherlands embraces online gambling


31 May 2013

After years of uncertainty, the Netherlands is now set to open up its online gambling market to non-governmental competitors in 2015, according to draft legislation which was released last week.

At the moment, the only offering for residents of the Netherlands is the state-run gambling operator – Holland Casino – and foreign operators are legally prevented from targeting Dutch players. However, the ban is widely flouted, which has meant that Holland Casino is currently operating at a loss.

New competitors will be encouraged to apply for licences thanks to a 20% tax rate, which is 9% lower than that which is currently paid by the state-run operator and arcade owners. However, Fred Teeven – the junior justice minister – says that applicants for online sports betting, casino and poker licences will be required to meet “very strict conditions.”

For a country which is widely-renowned for its liberal attitudes, it is surprising that the current Dutch gambling law is fifty-years-old and therefore takes no consideration of the invention, let alone rapid advances of the internet.

Also included in the draft proposals are terms that require all licence holders to contribute towards a fund to assist problem gamblers. Plus, players who break self-imposed wagering limits will be added to a national register and banned from playing at online gaming sites.