Holland Casino Privatization Moves Forward

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State-owned gambling operator Holland Casino may move a majority of its holdings to private hands if pending legislation continues to make headway. The Netherlands’ Lower House Of Representatives has passed a measure that seeks to achieve just that.

According to Gaming in Holland principal Willem Van Oort, the state-run venue has 14 casino licenses in direct path of the upheaval. The legislation proposes that 10 licenses shall remain together and be sold to a currently unknown operator, while four licenses will be pass off separately. The proposal also provides for two new licenses to be created. That action is still subject to a Senate ballot, which is anticipated to take place in Spring of 2017.

As it stands, Holland Casino is the only licensed operator in the Netherlands and provides players with casino entertainment in the form of Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat. If sold, estimates put the total take for the state at just over €1 billion.

According to the measure, the state would be permitted to license the two additional venues, with any affect to business from the proposed legislation being evaluated after a term of five years. Provisions in the legislation also stipulate that the operator acquiring the states licenses will not be able to acquire any other remaining license, while also providing that all employees from each venue retain their positions through the transition.

Additionally, Operators are barred from implementing bonuses and loyalty programs as the District Court of The Hague oversees initial relief procedures through the transitional period.

With the passage of the bill, the landscape of gaming in The Netherlands’ will become much more liberal. While it is considered a progressive step, the bill has a few provisions, in particular motions 19 and 20, that could ultimately impact gaming in the country in a negative way. The former stating “This motion calls upon the government to restrict opportunities for casino operators to operate adjacent leisure facilities, such as hotels or bars” and the latter “the Dutch government is once more requested to prohibit sports betting operators from sponsoring individual athletes (as opposed to teams, clubs, or leagues), as well as to institute a prohibition on live betting.”

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