Netherlands lifts online gambling ban
The latest European country to embrace regulated online gambling as a vital revenue source looks to be the Netherlands as the Dutch government approves a plan to regulate and license Internet gambling, lottery gaming, sports betting, and poker and bingo gaming.
Strict online gambling ban to be overturned
Currently, the state-owned Holland Casino enjoys a monopoly on gambling, with the country blocking non-native companies from offering Internet gambling services to Dutch citizens.
But a new coalition government has struck a bargain to ease those restrictions and come more into line with the accepted European economic approach of cross-border online gambling.
Big shift in policy
And that’s a huge shift for the nation. In recent years, the Amsterdam government has fought against opening its market to online gambling, enforcing its current online gambling ban in the highest of the EU’s courts. Other European nations and online gambling companies had challenged the Dutch ban as violating EU open market policies.
“It is a big shift (in policy), but this is a new government with a more liberal approach,” said Jaap Oosterveer, a Dutch ministry of public safety and justice spokesperson, per Reuters.
The Dutch News reports that about 200,000 Dutch nationals are “thought to play poker online,” using sites that are technically “illegal”.
That status of gambling as technically not legal — which it also shares in many other nations worldwide — means that the new regulations will try to better protect Dutch gamblers, who are currently playing in a basically unregulated market. (Which should sound pretty familiar to Canada’s John Horgan, right?)
Open markets: Great for affiliates
“A number of online gambling companies have launched legal challenges against several European countries in an effort to break into lucrative markets but have found the going tough,” notes Reuters.
“Ladbrokes, Britain’s biggest bookmaker, and Betfair, the world’s largest online gaming exchange, both challenged Dutch gambling policy unsuccessfully last year at the European Union Court of Justice,” the Reuters article continues.
That means that some pretty big online gambling brands promoted by casino affiliates could suddenly find a brand new market to explore.
The government hopes that auctioning licenses for online gaming and lottery providers will bring in about 10 million euros, per Reuters.
“Part of the license money will be spent on sports and a new gambling authority will be established to regulate the sector,” DutchNews.nl explains.