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Netherlands Online Casinos


The gambling industry in the Netherlands is on the cusp of change. What was once a heavily monopolised and regulated sector is now set to open its doors to foreign operators for the first time. It may come as a surprise to learn that a country with such a liberal view on drugs and prostitution has had such a firm stance on betting, but like many European countries, it attempted to protect its monopoly on the industry.

However, by 2013 it had become clear that foreign operators and Dutch citizens were ignoring the law. Hundreds of Dutch online casinos continued to take players from the Netherlands, with many offering their platforms and support in Dutch. At one point the government asked banks to stop processing transactions related to gambling activities, but this was voluntary, and unsurprisingly, the majority of banks refused. In 2013 draft legislation was drawn up to regulate the Netherlands online gaming industry, with new operators able to apply for licences from January 2015. Over 200 companies have already expressed an interest in obtaining a licence, although the full details of how the system will work are yet to be formalised.

In the meantime Dutch players are estimated to spend between €250m and €800m on “illegal” wagers with foreign-based betting sites, but it will only be a matter of time until these wagers become “legal” according to Dutch law. Here are some of the best online casinos in the Netherlands:

Top Real Money Gaming Sites in Netherlands 2020

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Legal U-Turn

The decision to welcome foreign-based gambling companies to the Netherlands is something of an about-face compared to previous legislation, which had attempted to prevent Dutch players betting online.

Since the 1970’s all forms of casino gaming in the Netherlands have been controlled by the state-owned Holland Casino, which operates 14 bricks-and-mortar casinos in the country. Dutch players have been legally allowed to play blackjackroulette, poker and several other Vegas-style games in these establishments for many years.

The sports betting sector has been monopolised by two companies: De Lotto, which handles all sports except for Horse Racing; and Scientific Games Racing B.V., which looks after Horse Racing. Toto.dl (owned by De Lotto) is the only sportsbook licenced to offer its services online to Dutch customers.

In 2006 Holland Casino was granted a licence to provide an online casino alongside its land-based services, but it lasted little longer than a year. By 2008 the Dutch parliament had voted against a bill to renew the licence for a further three years. It also voted against a bill to regulate limited internet gambling.

By 2011 the Netherlands had begun to investigate ways of developing a new legislative framework to deal with e-gaming. The Secretary of Security and Justice admitted that laws were being ignored by Dutch citizens and a new law would allow more oversight. However, in 2012 the Netherlands Supreme Court ruled that the ban on online gaming was not in contravention of the EU law of free movement of services, and banks were asked to block transactions relating to foreign-based gambling operations. As this policy was not enforceable by law, most banks simply refused, and by 2013 the Netherlands government had announced its intention to liberalize the market and award licences to overseas operators for the first time.

Sweeping Changes

The new regulations took effect from January 2015 with a 20% tax on total revenue introduced for operators. This has caused a stir because it is less than the current 29% charged to land-based services. However, it is considered necessary to enable casinos to offer games and pay outs that are competitive with unlicensed sites.

It has also suggested that there will be a compulsory contribution from licensees to a fund which will help support problem gamblers, while it will also put in place strategies to monitor players and potentially limit their usage through a national register of gamblers.

Everyone’s a Winner

With over 200 betting operations already showing an interest in the Dutch market, it’s clear that there are some big players ready to take a piece of the pie, and a quick look at the stats reveals why.

The Netherlands is the 17th largest iGaming market in the EU, with 700,000 regular players, and over 93% of the population having access to the internet. That market is estimated to be worth around €2.3bn but only 9% of this is from internet gambling – compared with an average 12.5% across the EU. Some experts have suggested that within a regulated environment, this could grow to a 31% market share, which signals huge potential for growth.

Once the large gaming and sports betting providers enter the market it can be expected to grow considerably, with players confident that they can play at fully licensed and regulated casinos. Dutch gamblers have already been used to playing a wide variety of games at foreign-based websites, but soon they will be able to do so completely legally. Better still, they will have the security of knowing that the site must be licensed and regulated by Dutch law. The government will also be a big winner due to the amount it raises through taxation, with licences also expected to earn approximately €10m per year.

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