Changes to the gambling laws in the Netherlands

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by , 27 September 2020 at 12:18 am (260 Views)
The Netherlands has lax laws; prostitution and marijuana have been legal for years now. Even though the typical Dutch person has bet on PSV or Ajax at least once; sports betting and online casinos have always been illegal. This is all changing with effect from January 1st next year. The Netherlands Gambling Act was revised last year to make legal what was once illegal. This delayed implementation date is to ensure that all the casinos including will have had their licenses processed.

Times have changed. It was necessary to amend this law as it was created 50 years ago before the digital era and online sports betting by extension was a thing. Up to 90 licenses have been approved already and this is a small number considering that the Netherlands has a plethora of "underground" casinos. We expect that the Gaming Authority will approve many more once the law has been implemented. A few won't make it as they have to adhere to the stringent conditions stipulated here. This is good news for gamblers as they now know they will be protected by the law from unscrupulous bookies.

As at now, Netherland Casinos aren't (yet) allowed to feature sports events where players can place bets. Only charity lotteries and the Staatsloterij (state lottery) were licensed before the law was amended. Players have been relying on international bookies who never have to align their rules with those of the Dutch government.

Sander Dekker Netherland's minister for justice and security announced this amendment to the Gaming Act at the lower parliament and the news was well-received. However, it was made clear that the Kansspelautoriteit (Netherlands Gambling Authority) would take at least 6 months vetting each online casino before handing out a gambling permit. A few legislators were for the view that all gambling-related advertising (including advertising the Staatsloterij that has been in operation since 1726) should be banned altogether but this motion was promptly rejected. Dekker clarified that controlling how gambling is advertised wasn't a priority to the Dutch Gambling Authority. In fact, this would only impede the newly licensed Netherlands-based bookies that will be trying to gain a foothold.

He hinted that there were future plans of limiting how these online casinos advertised though: This would be implemented in the form of discouraging celebrity endorsements, restricting behavioural marketing, capping bonuses offered by bookies and by overseeing the social media platforms that they would promote ads on.

The Kansspelautoriteit will only approve applications from gambling sites that have demonstrated to have an effective proof of age verification system. The government aims to ensure that there is zero under age (<18 years) gambling. This was made a priority after it was discovered that minors could easily gain access to the government-run lottery. In addition to having their license application revoked, gambling sites that did not implement an age verification system would attract fines as had been stipulated by the KSA.

The COVID pandemic has seen all brick and mortar gambling venues close shop as social interaction is discouraged. This vacuum has forced gamblers to try out international bookies who are operating without licenses. We feel that this delayed implementation of the amendment has more downsides than upsides now that Dutch players are still gambling with unlicensed bookies. We cannot fight this pandemic without discouraging social interactions. It's only logical licensing online Dutch-based casinos so that players can wager from wherever. In fact, these online casinos usually have a live casino where there's a live dealer (instead of a random number generator) and you can play against real players too, just like in a physical casino.

The Kansspelauthoriteit is actively fighting sportsbooks that try to target the Dutch market which they define as

  • Offering Dutch as a language on their website
  • Using the Netherlands flag or its colours
  • Using iDeal (a Netherlands-only payment processor

Casinos that were found to be aggressively marketing to the Dutch market were heavily fined were some of them getting huge 470,000 Euro fines.

Updated 2 October 2020 at 12:36 pm by TopGambling

Online Gambling , Netherlands , Online Slots