The Netherland’s gambling industry is slowly improving as the years pass by. It used to be monopolized and regulated but now, it’s starting to open its doors to foreign developers and operators. The Netherlands has a liberal view on prostitution and drugs so it’s surprising that it has strict laws on online gambling and betting. The main reason why it’s like that is it wants to protect its monopoly on the online gambling industry.
In 2013, it was clear that foreign online casino operators and Dutch casino players were ignoring the country’s online gambling laws. Hundreds of online casinos offer their platform and support in Dutch and attracted a lot of Dutch citizens to sign up and play. To stop the situation, the Dutch government advised their local banks to stop processing gambling-related transactions but the banks actually refused to cooperate. So in order to regulate online gambling in the country, draft legislation was drawn up back in 2013. With the new legislation, foreign online casino operators can apply for a license to operate, starting in January 2015. It was met with enthusiasm as over 200 operators verbalized their desires to obtain a license.
Even though betting sites are illegal, Dutch casino players are estimated to spend around €250m to €800m on wagers. Things are looking up since these betting sites will eventually be legalized according to Dutch law.
The previous legislation prevented Dutch players from placing bets online. The situation’s different now since the government has decided to welcome remote online casinos and foreign companies. The decision was really surprising since the previous legislation had done the exact opposite. Since the 1970s, all things related to casino gaming was controlled by Holland Casino which is state-owned. It managed 14 bricks-and-mortar casinos in the Netherlands. In this establishment, Dutch casino players were legally allowed to play roulette, blackjack, poker, and other casino games.
When it comes to sports betting, this sector was monopolized by two major companies which are Scientific Games Racing B.V. for Horse Racing and De Lotto for all the other sports betting events. Toto dl, which is owned by De Lotto, is the only sportsbook given a license to provide online betting services to Dutch players. Back in 2016, Holland Casino successfully acquired a license that allows it to provide an online casino while maintaining its land-based casino operations. The license only lasted for more than a year. Unfortunately, the parliament voted against renewing the license for three more years. It also voted against creating a new bill to regulate internet gambling.
In 2011, the Netherlands started to investigate ways of coming up with a new legislative framework to deal with online gambling. The Secretary of Security and Justice of the Netherlands admitted that Dutch players and online casino operators were ignoring the existing laws and it would be beneficial to create a new law. In 2012, it was ruled out by the Netherlands Supreme Court that banning online gambling was not in contravention at all of the EU law of free movement of services. Because of the ruling, banks were requested to stop processing online gambling-related transactions, specifically if involving foreign-based online casinos. Banks refused since it was voluntary and it paved the way for the government to seriously think about issuing licenses to foreign casino operators.
The Netherlands has pretty limited gambling legislation. The main reason is it does not legalize online gambling and betting services. In May 2013, there was a legislative proposal to pass the Dutch Remote Gambling Act. It’s a major online gambling law that will set all the conditions to recognize online gambling operators. It serves as an amendment to the Betting and Gaming Tax Act, the Betting and Gaming Act, and other related acts which are created to regulate online gambling.
The Betting and Gaming Act is the first act that defined the remote games offered on the country. The Act described the remote games as games of luck that are organized remotely with the use of electronic means of communication. The remote games of chance include all games which can be offered through the television, mobile devices, and the internet. The Act will not restrict the game types that can be offered online within the country.
Casino games, poker games, and some gaming machines are allowed to be offered in the Netherlands. Sports betting, including live betting, exchange betting, fixed odds, and pari-mutual betting, can be provided online in the Netherlands. In the summer of 2016, the Dutch Lower House passed the Remote Gambling Bill. It was then referred to the Senate but unfortunately, it’s not yet passed as a law. It will all depend on the Senate. Foreign operators will not be able to operate legally if the Senate will not show support.
The Dutch government has set tight conditions and guidelines that interested gambling operators should meet before getting the chance to apply for a license from the government. This also means that foreign operators which currently don’t have a license from Kansspelautoriteit won’t be allowed to operate in the Dutch market.
Foreign operators that wish to operate in the Netherlands are required to have some form of a physical presence in the country which is definitely one of the strictest requirements. However, it’s still unclear what the requirement actually means. It could be requiring the company to set up an office in the country or simply base their servers for Dutch online casino players in the country. The requirement can also mean that only local-based land operators will be given a chance to apply for the gambling license. Because of the confusion, some foreign online casinos announced that they will no longer be accepting Dutch players.
Since 2012, gambling services and activities go through control, monitoring, and regulation by Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) which is the local gaming authority. The KSA has regulatory functions like licensing, checking the compliance of licensed casinos, and investigating violations of the main gambling law which is the Dutch Gambling Act of 1964.
The local municipalities are in charge of supervising the licensing procedures. They also have control over carrying out the gambling services in the different areas of the country. They are also tasked with monitoring the gambling machines which can be found in the public houses. KSA operates under the hat of the Dutch government but still possesses specifications of a sovereign administration. KSA played a significant role in preparing a legal framework’s launch which would include the distribution of the online gambling licenses.
The Public Prosecutor has the authority when it comes to the criminal prosecution of all violations that are gambling-related within the country. The law also describes the resulting penalties after committing each violation.
Even though it was difficult for the online gambling industry to fully penetrate the Dutch market at first, it’s showing great signs of improvement with today’s developments. Around 200 betting companies are showing interest in the Dutch market. It’s not hard to see why the online gambling industry is slowly thriving in the Netherlands. The country is actually the 17th largest online gambling market in the EU. The Netherlands has approximately 700,000 regular online casino players. On the other hand, around 93% of its population has access to the internet. The Netherlands’ market is estimated to be worth around €2.3bn and 9% of this comes from online gambling. It’s relatively low when compared to the 12.5% average of other EU nations. According to industry experts, this market could even grow to up to 31% when properly regulated. The country’s online gambling market has a huge potential to grow and foreign operators definitely know that. If the biggest sports betting and online gaming providers will be able to successfully enter the Dutch market, then it will significantly grow. Dutch players are confident that they’ll be able to play more at regulated and properly licensed online casinos. Dutch gamblers will have a chance to play a lot more games with a wider variety of themes and gameplay. The Dutch government also wins big time because the revenue from issued licenses will be as much as €10m per year.
Slot games are very popular among Dutch players. Online casinos offering gambling services to Dutch players have an amazing selection of games. There are so many games with different themes, gameplay, and overall feel. Online casino players will definitely find something interesting for them to play. You can find a wide variety of online games. It doesn’t matter if you like the simplicity and easy gameplay of classic 3-reel slots or if you prefer exciting and full of adventure 5-reel slots with huge winnings, you will certainly find something you like from their selection of unique and engaging casino games.
A lot of Dutch players also prefer taking chances at progressive slots. The accumulative jackpot of those exciting games is constantly getting bigger as more players place bets on the slot. You can test your luck at one of the most popular progressive slots and get a chance to win huge amounts of winnings. Some of the crowd favorites are Hall of Gods, Mega Moolah, and Immortal Romance.
Although there was a time when it was difficult for online casinos to provide services to Dutch players, even those that hold licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority, the situation’s different now. The majority of online casinos can now provide online gaming services to Dutch casino players. Games are now even available in their language. The Netherlands’ strict laws definitely caused a lot of trouble in the past, especially for foreign operators and Dutch players. The tables have turned and surprisingly, online gambling in the Netherlands will finally be regulated. Dutch players will be given a chance to play and enjoy online casino games while trying to win amazing prizes. This development will definitely boost the online gambling industry in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has always enjoyed relaxed laws but it’s a different case when it comes to online gambling. The country has almost zero tolerance for it. Although they have a lot of online casino players, the country is not exactly liberal about online gambling. Online poker betting is actually restricted in the Netherlands but it was not really popular in the country compared to other European nations. The government has resorted to aggressive ways in order to restrict players from participating in online poker tournaments. The government also banned several online games that are at risk of unfair play. It’s actually an interesting fact that the country’s legislation includes the popular Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority that’s located on the Netherlands Antilles territory.