Dutch iGaming: A Peek into the Future
When the Dutch igaming market opens to international operators in 2015 it will be the latest in a long line of European Union member countries to embrace liberalizations.
The big question for operators and affiliates is whether the Netherlands will also be the latest in a long line of European gaming markets to fizzle out under the weight of bureaucratic meddling. (Spain and Germany, we’re looking at you.)
Fortunately, the Netherlands is known as a fairly tolerant, reasonable country and with any luck, it’s embrace of igaming liberalization will live up to ideal. So far, it’s off to a pretty good start.
For starters, the Dutch government is actually lowering the tax rate operators pay from 29/% to 22%. This is a strategy designed to encourage a homegrown igaming industry that can actually compete with offshore casinos and sportsbooks.
That famous Dutch tolerance is also visible in the country’s welcoming attitude towards foreign operators. So far, industry analysts are encouraged by what they’ve seen. In a recent interview with PokerNews, Willem van Oort, CEO of iGaming consultants described the legislative process in positive tones saying:
It seems the process will be transparent and well defined, therefore the acceptation rate should be near 100%. The international operators are well positioned to take the lead, with Unibet, bwin.party, Bet365, Betfair and PokerStars the most obvious candidates.
The big name operators, and whatever homegrown competition they run up against, will be starting from a pretty good spot. Holland is currently the 17th largest gambling market in the EU (7th largest when it comes to gross wins) with revenues varying between €130 million to €250 million ($187-$339 USD). That’s not too shabby for a country with only 16 million people.
Industry analysts suggest that the Netherlands’ market will be especially lucrative for sports betting operators and affiliates. Van Oort says that sports wagering could eventually make up as much as 31% of the Durch internet gambling market.
Though the Dutch are avid casino players, the online poker is still fertile ground for market development. Currently, there are no legal online poker sites operating in the Netherlands.
Under the proposed regulations, Dutch players will not only be able to play online, they also have access to international liquidity (which is a pretty significant deal).
Holland is also a country that’s extremely tech savvy and boasts a 93% internet penetration rate.
Not surprisingly, that openness towards the web has built up a massive e-commerce industry that’s worth about €2.3 billion ($3.3 billion USD). As of last year, only 9% of that number was generated from internet gambling.
In short, the Dutch igaming market has a lot of potential, provided the bureaucrats don’t crash the party.