Online Gambling Laws in the Netherlands Set to Change
Less than a week ago, reports surfaced that internet gambling activity in the Netherlands was up by more than 20% over the past two years. Today, news is coming out that online gambling laws in the Netherlands may soon be changing. If all goes according to plan, this country will soon begin regulating their fast-growing online gaming industry.
This comes at an important time for the Netherlands. The online gambling industry here is worth over €600 million annually. With regulation, the government can begin earning some serious revenue through taxes.
Internet Gambling Boom in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is well-known for having some of the most liberal laws in Europe. Unfortunately, they haven’t taken the same relaxed approach to gambling. This country has technically banned their citizens from making bets through most online gambling sites in Europe.
The government here has made it clear that it’s only legal to place wagers through sites based inside the Netherlands; which at this point is just the state-operated Holland Casino. That hasn’t deterred bettors here, though. According to a recent report from Motivaction, more than 1.8 million people in the Netherlands admitted to making bets online through a site based abroad.
These reports also state that the Netherlands is missing out on about €175 million in online gambling taxes each year. Lawmakers have taken notice, and are now in the process of revamping the online gambling laws in the Netherlands to allow for broader regulation.
What Will the New Online Gambling Laws in the Netherlands Allow?
Officials in the Netherlands have been preparing to implement new internet gambling laws since 2016. It’s taken nearly three years, yet these laws are finally gaining some traction. The new bill (EK 34.471) will end the monopoly currently set in place by the government.
This bill will allow for foreign gambling sites to operate inside the Netherlands after obtaining a license from the government. It’s a very similar approach that countries like Croatia have recently taken.
The gambling sites operating inside the Netherlands will be required to pay a 29% tax fee on their “gross game result.” This will apply to all forms of gambling including online casino games, online poker, and online sports betting in the Netherlands.
What Are Gambling Operators in the Netherlands Saying?
From afar, it may seem like opening up the online gaming industry to foreign operators would hurt the companies already operating inside the Netherlands. Based on research, that’s not the case. The majority of bettors here use foreign sites to make their bets right now to avoid paying the high taxes on their winnings.
The increase in Dutch gamblers making bets through foreign sites has seriously affected the state-run Holland Casino. Erwin van Lambaart, director of Holland Casino, recently voiced his approval of the new legislation.
“More and more Dutch people gamble totally unprotected on the internet,” he said. “They do so with international providers who are established on sunny holiday islands with dubious regulations.”
He argues that these sites are unfair competition, and the new online gambling laws in the Netherlands will help to even the playing field.
Lawmakers Set to Discuss New Legislation
The Dutch Senate will discuss the new legislation tomorrow, February 5th. If the Senate is in agreement on the parameters of the new laws, a vote will take place on February 12th to have them passed.
The new online gambling laws in the Netherlands may take effect in 2020. After that time, foreign gambling sites can begin applying for licenses to operate inside the country.
Officials here are taking a big step in opening up their gambling industry. Hope is high that the new legislation will begin generating more revenue for the government. For now, we’ll have to sit back and wait on the Senate’s decision to push these laws forward.
Stay tuned for updates on this situation, and make sure to let us know the impact you think this will have on the Dutch gambling industry in the comment section below!
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