The Surprisingly Interesting World of Online Betting in the Netherlands

For many people, October 1st, 2021 is a regular Friday: checking the clock a few times too often, hashing out the latest details for the weekend, and looking forward to sleeping in. To the Dutch, October 1st is the first day in history online gambling is legal.  For the first time since 1964, their law on gambling has been updated to provide for online casinos.  

So does that mean hordes of players will rush to the casinos they’ve been eagerly waiting to finally gamble in? Not quite. The  Dutch already spent an estimated € 3.1 billion a year on online gambling well before it was remotely legal. Click here for more information about the new gambling act. 

And that is exactly what makes the case of the Netherlands so interesting. This has a lot of implications, and the information about the Dutch gambling market and its new laws are telling, especially because many other countries have such a similar story.  

You may wonder what stops any crook from opening an online casino and turning into a villain from a 1960s casino heist movie. The answer is the gambling license. As a rule of thumb, the harder it is to get a certain gambling license, the more reliable a casino will be.  

Just as it did when protecting vulnerable players, the Dutch have taken fairness a step further. Every casino with a Dutch license is obligated to store all game results in a central database that the Dutch authorities can access at any time. This forced transparency helps keep casinos reliable and safe, just like your online betting account.  

Governments have a long history of protecting their subjects against vices. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and gambling are well-known examples of areas where the government feels compelled to restrict people. Over the last few years, this has put Dutch players in a difficult position. They were legally free to visit gambling websites and play, but these websites were not under  Dutch law.  

The Dutch are notably strict when it comes to protecting vulnerable players. 

From the Government of The Netherlands: 

“The government also wants license holders to be able to exclude problem gamblers from online betting. A central registry will be created where problem gamblers can be registered, on a voluntary basis or otherwise. This will make it easier to protect players against gambling addiction.”

A known gap in even the strictest gambling licenses – Malta and the United Kingdom – is that vulnerable players can exclude themselves in one casino, but then move to another casino and have no trouble signing up, even if the two casinos have the same owner. 

The new Dutch Remote Gambling Act solves the problem. Casinos aspiring to a Dutch license are obligated to use an interconnected system that tracks players wherever they go. If a player is (voluntarily) banned from a land-based casino, that ban extends to every legal avenue they have.  

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