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The potential value of online casinos in The Netherlands

  • by Stelly in Industry
  • September 23, 2020

Online gambling has gained popularity over the years due to the convenience of playing games of chance while on the go. Whether casino games like online slots or table games are preferred, players from all over the world have given at least one online casino a try.

This is especially true in The Netherlands where amendments to the Remote Gambling Act have been shuffled back and forth for months. Given that the country has a handful of local, land-based establishments, final approval as to whether local online casinos will be legal or not is still up in the air.

Remote Gambling Act

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), who is the regulatory body that not only issues gambling licenses but also oversees land-based and online gambling in the Netherlands, has been considering amendments to the Remote Gambling Act for many months over the last two years.

While the Act was approved by the Senate in 2019, the KSA is dissatisfied with the liberal nature of the document and would like to tweak the details around the advertising of online gambling for greater protection of Dutch citizens.

Due to the lack of clarity around online gambling regulations in the Netherlands, citizens have taken to making use of the services offered by off-shore casinos - not all of which are licensed and regulated.

An underlying fear which seems to be delaying the finalization of the amendments is that of local land-based casino owners who are concerned that they will lose business should online casino licensing come into effect.

Limited Choice

Given the size of The Netherlands, the 14 legal, land-based casinos, all operated by Casino Holland, limits the choices of residents. Aside from the National Lottery, the opportunity to conveniently play games of chance is pretty thin on the ground.

Unless the country opens doors to local online gambling businesses and removes the monopoly, citizens will continue to look elsewhere when it comes to playing casino games online.

As of March 2020, 200 businesses had made applications for gambling licenses which indicates clear interest on the part of gambling vendors wanting to supply services. In addition, after limitation of movement during the 2020 novel Coronavirus pandemic, the need for players to have choice around when and where they gamble has never been more obvious.

When compared to the neighbouring country, Belgium, who legalised online gambling in 2002, off-shore casinos are the only choice for Netherlands residents. While Belgium still requires a land-based component in order for online casino licensing to be valid, this allows for a greater range of choices, especially for those who are not willing or able to visit land-based casinos.

Land-based vs online

As long as The Netherlands government continues to drag its feet around the Remote Gambling Act, residents will do whatever is necessary to meet their gambling needs. Given the world of choice available online, which includes casinos that are unregulated and unlicensed, Netherlands residents will remain at risk.

To take a page out of the book of European Union (EU) chastened Germany, who have been reprimanded for violating the laws of free trade and competition when citizens play casino games at off-shore establishments, there is little to no recourse should anything happen to their money.

Online gambling vs land-based casinos doesn’t have to be an either/or argument. Internet users are offered a myriad of options on a daily basis and, given the wide range of ages who gamble, they too prefer the choice of one or the other at some point, as they go through life.

Whether the massive online bonuses are an attraction or if it is due to online casinos accepting cryptocurrency, the atmosphere in a land-based casino is hard to replicate in an online environment.

This means that brick and mortar casino establishments will be in business for many years to come.

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