Legalization of Online Casinos in the Netherlands

First Chamber: Online Casinos will soon be legal in the Netherlands

Almost two years after the initial vote in the Second Chamber, the First Chamber has now also approved the proposed amendment to the Dutch gambling law: online casinos are also becoming legal in the Netherlands. This is in line with other European countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Belgium, where the rules regarding online gambling have already been relaxed.

In this article:

Online casinos from 2020 also legally in the Netherlands
More and more Dutch people are gambling online
Gambling at sports competitions is also legalized
Online Casimba Casino review Casinos apply for permits

What will happen now in 2019?

The new bill modernises the Gambling Act and the Gambling Taxes Act. This makes it finally possible, under strict conditions, to legally offer online games of chance. The new law also regulates sports betting, which until now was illegal in the Netherlands. The government wants to ensure that online casino visitors have at their disposal «a suitable and attractive offer, with guarantees against gambling addiction and crime».

According to the government, a change in the law was inevitable, given that the old gambling law dates back to 1964 and cannot cope with contemporary reality. For example, despite the ban, over 1.8 million Dutch people gambled via the internet last year, an increase of 20% compared to two years earlier. Games such as online bingo and online poker, but also casino classics such as online roulette and online blackjack, were very popular. Gambling at sports competitions is also rapidly gaining popularity. Almost half of online gamblers ventured into one of the online casinos more than seven times in the past year. Researchers calculated that Dutch people spend more than 600 million on online gambling this year, all this without any form of government control.

Legal online gambling The NetherlandsThis gambling is currently still largely done via foreign websites, which are often translated into Dutch, and also present themselves as Dutch websites. With the adoption of the new law there is now finally the possibility to set clear rules for online casinos, and to enforce them. For example, providers of such games of chance may be required to deposit money into a fund to help people get rid of their gambling addiction. Also, the state can finally collect tax revenue and take advantage of this lucrative market. It was calculated, for example, that the state missed out on around 100 million in tax revenues in the past year due to the lack of regulations and illegal constructions that this has created.

But not only the state, the players are also improving. For example, until now it was possible for games of chance without a Dutch license to enter the (illegal) market, so that fairness could not be checked, and it was not even certain whether the prizes were actually paid out. In addition, players are currently not legally regulated, gambling illegally and without any legal protection, which makes them an easy target for scammers. With the new legislation, these types of abuses must be eliminated.

However, it will take a while before the first permits can be issued. The adoption of the law is a first step in the process, after which conditions must still be drawn up on the basis of which a permit can be issued. For example, the parties do not yet agree on the level of the gambling tax on online gambling, and the question of whether or not to advertise these online casinos is not yet settled.

For the time being, July 1, 2020 is planned as the starting date of all these legislative changes, then it will take the Gaming Authority more than half a year to issue the first licenses. The expectation is that in the first instance around 50 to 70 companies will apply.

Until then, the old legislation will still be in force and the Gaming Authority will continue to act against illegal providers of online gambling, and will also be given additional powers for this. For example, they can block the payment traffic between illegal provider and participant.

What about online poker?

As long as your IP address is within the Netherlands you are in violation of the law when you play online poker. Whether that is at a German, English or Chinese site, you cannot use online poker services from the Netherlands. At least, you cannot play poker for money. As long as you play demo poker games, nothing is wrong. You play for entertainment, for bacon and beans, and that is allowed! Demo games are poker games that you play for free and that do not generate any real money. This is a great alternative to paid online poker, and ensures that your skills are maintained a little.

Frequently Asked Questions Online Casino Legalization

When are online casinos in the Netherlands legal?

The law will change from July 1, 2020, shortly thereafter the first Dutch online casinos will receive a license.
What changes for players?

With the legalization of online casinos, players will be better protected against crime. The games will be better checked for fairness, which reduces the chance of being cheated a lot. Players are also entitled to legal protection.

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