The COVID19 pandemic has had a horrible effect on people and businesses all over the world. With that said, there is one industry in particular that has seen explosive growth during the pandemic. That would be the online casino gambling industry.
With hundreds of millions if not billions of people hunkered down in their homes for extended periods of time, adults have been looking for things to keep them entertained. Not only is online gambling fun and exciting, but each player has a legitimate opportunity to win a little money. That would explain why online gambling grew by close to 50% in Europe over the last year.
What is very true about the world of online gambling is the rules and regulations from one country to the next can vary greatly. That is even true among neighboring countries.
For the remainder of this article, the discussion is going to focus on online gambling in The Netherlands. We will investigate the legalities surrounding retail and online gambling by the Dutch people as well as having a discussion about the Dutch Lottery.
How is Gambling Regulated in the Netherlands?
Before we get into the heart of these issues, we want readers to know that almost every country in the world with the exception of many countries in the Middle East allow some form of legal gambling. In many countries, lotteries are very popular among country residents.
Since almost all countries permit some form of gambling, the government of each country will typically provide a government regulator to oversee such activities. These regulators are typically responsible for overseeing gambling providers to make sure gamblers have some form of protection against rogue gambling providers.
In The Netherlands, the governing regulator is the Kansspelautoriteit – KSA (Netherlands Gambling Authority), which was established in 2012. The KSA is responsible for controlling all retail and online gambling that takes place in The Netherlands.
Is Retail Gambling Legal in the Netherlands
The term retail gambling covers a wide range of gambling activities. Under this umbrella, we would expect to see horse racing, brick and mortar casino gambling, sports betting, poker, and Lotteries.
Currently, retail casino gambling and poker are legal as set forth by the Betting and Gaming Act of 1964. However, all retail gambling activities are controlled by the government-owned Holland Casino. That means the industry is controlled by a state monopoly. There are approximately 14 land-based casinos in operation in the Netherlands.
As for retail sports betting and lotteries, they too are legal. However, these activities are controlled by the Dutch Lotto under the direction of the KSA.
Is Online Gambling Legal in the Netherlands?
Currently, online casinos, poker, and sports gambling are illegal gambling activities in The Netherlands. Online lotteries are permitted by law. However, there was legislation put forth in 2019 that would legalize such activities. If all goes according to plan, the legislation could be passed in 2021.
At this point, we would be remiss to not mention that tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people in the Netherlands gamble online. You are probably wondering how that is possible?
While online gambling is technically illegal in The Netherlands, the government has decided to take a practical approach to the online gambling issue. Instead of trying to police the population to make sure they aren’t playing online games of chance for real cash, the government has decided to simply not prosecute anyone from doing so.
In lieu of not enforcing the ban on internet gambling, the KSA has shifted its focus to international online gambling operators. The KSA has determined they will allow Dutch online gambling enthusiasts to access offshore or out-of-country online gambling sites as long as the operator has received the proper licensing from the KSA specifically designed or online gambling operators. Once an international operator has secured proper licensing from the KSA, they can operate freely for the benefit of Dutch residents.
If there is any doubt about whether or not the KSA will enforce their licensing rules, those doubts were removed in August of 2019. That is when the Kindred Group was hit with a whopping fine of €470,000 fine for illegally accepting online wagers from Dutch players without having a license to do so. Who is the Kindred Group? Only one of the largest gambling conglomerates in the world.
For what it is worth, online operators that accept wagers from the Dutch people are subject to a tax rate of approximately 30% on all gambling revenues the operators receive directly from Dutch gamblers.
Should the Draft Bill on Remote Gambling get passed this year or in the future, it would change the online gambling landscape in The Netherlands. Operators would be permitted to actually based their online operations in The Netherlands with the proper licensing from the KSA. At that point, the government would likely seek to take more control over sports betting and poker as well.
The Dutch Lottery
For a country with such strict rules related to gambling, it is surprising to find out that The Netherlands is home to one of the oldest lotteries in the world, the Staatsloterij, which originated sometime in the early 1700s. Today, the Dutch Lottery draws as many as 5.0 million players with every drawing.
While the Dutch Lottery was first organized in 1957, the first drawing was not held until the mid-1970s. Since that time, the Dutch Lottery has turned thousands of Dutch people into instant millionaires. Both lotteries combine to offer a wide selection of daily, weekly, and monthly lottery games. Scratch cards are also very popular among the Dutch people.
Where Can I Gamble in the Netherlands
If you are visiting The Netherlands and are looking for something to do while out seeing the sites, you might get the urge to visit one of the country’s 14 land-based casinos. While the available casinos are scattered throughout the countryside, visitors can visit casinos in major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leeuwarden, Breda, and Utrecht. Poker players and sports bettors can get access to those forms of retail gambling through the very same casinos.
Under the direction of the government through the KSA, persons must be at least 18 years old to gamble in The Netherlands. Furthermore, the Betting and Gaming Act of 1964 sets forth very strict guidelines related to wagering limits on slots, table games, and sports betting. Also, the government obligates operators to look out for problem gambling issues under the threat of fines for not refusing service to gamblers who show signs of a problem gambling issue.