This year saw the introduction of a proposal for a regulatory framework for online gambling in the Netherlands, most likely facilitated by the change in government in 2010. The exciting news is that a Gaming Authority should be in operation from January 2012 and will be awarding licenses for online gambling later in the year.

The Dutch Gaming and Betting Act dates from 1964, and understandably did not account for the rapid and major changes to the gambling industry with the advent of the internet. The 1964 act has been sporadically amended since its introduction, but all forms of gambling offered in return for prizes are still prohibited, unless specifically authorised. This has not stopped local operators from having an online presence.

Details of the Dutch Laws

  • Two monopolies have emerged: the national lottery (Staatsloterij) and Holland Casino, which runs 14 offline casinos in the Netherlands.
  • There are semi-permanent monopolies to supply horserace betting that is operated by Sportech and three exclusive licences awarded to De Lotto (Holland’s national lottery) for sports betting, lottery games and scratch cards.
  • There are also three charity lotteries that operate on a semi-permanent basis of 5 years. These are the Nationale Postcarde Loterij, the BankGiro Loterij and the Vrienden Loterij.
  • The government has given authorisation to the Staatsloterij and the charity lotteries to provide online services.

Interestingly, an unusual twist to the Dutch legislation does not consider internet-based services as online gaming, but rather as e-commerce.  The law sees it is an alternative way to supply already existing offline services online.

Trends Indicate a Need for Change

Online gambling is growing in the Netherlands. A report from August 2010 by the Advisory Commission on Online Betting and Gambling stated that:

  • Over half a million Dutch gamble online in the last 12 months.
  • Poker was the most popular form of online gambling, followed by casino games.

In order to protect Dutch residents who are playing poker online, the Commission recommended that online poker be regulated under Dutch law.

The government will consider international online gambling standards with regard to protecting vulnerable players, fairness of games and responsible marketing. The Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit), started by the previous government, should be operational from the beginning of 2012. This will be an independent authority that will award licences for online gambling, supervise online operators and enforce laws.

What Does It Mean For YOU As An Affiliate?

With the Netherlands set to regulate online gambling, this will most likely resonate in the minds of potential Dutch players making them more open to the idea of gambling online. This opens up a potential gold-mine of players to target and paves the way for other unregulated countries to join the bandwagon. Keeping an eye out for these exciting developments that you can leverage off will keep you a step ahead.

About the Author:

Tanya Ryder is the resident writer for Fortune Affiliates, who helps the company stay on top of industry news and trends to keep their affiliates in the know.

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