The world of gambling in the Netherlands has definitely had more issues than other vices in that country, and with such a progressive view when it comes to institutions like prostitution, this conservative approach is quite a shock. Now, gambling is allowed in the country, but the discussion of making online gambling a regulated open market has been going on for many years and seemingly only delays come out of the conversations. There is hope that this will all change before the end of the decade, but let’s look at the market today and how we got here.
Gambling Regulations in the Netherlands
Gambling has long been apart of the Dutch culture, with one of the oldest European lotteries being established in the country all the back in the 1700s. Casino gambling is also legal from a land-based perspective, but it is in a state of change as well. The only group licensed to run land-based casinos in the Netherlands is Casino Holland. This is a government run company, which puts the gaming laws in the same place as many European nations – run by a government monopoly. The European Union has been against monopolistic environments in all industries, putting pressure on the Dutch government to make some changes. The change that seems to be coming, however, isn’t one of licensing but of ownership, as it appears Holland Casino is going to be sold to a privately-held company.
Online gambling in the Netherlands has followed along a conservative approach similar to that of many other nations. There weren’t any laws on the books for the longest time, so sites that were operating from outside the country’s borders were free to accept players from Holland without any penalty and without contributing any tax dollars to the Netherlands’ coffers. The government finally decided in 2013 to start on the road to regulation, and the initial draft of the Remote Gaming Act was tabled.
Unfortunately, the initial reaction to the Gaming bill was trending to the negative. One of the biggest concerns that faced the bill’s passing was the amount of tax being proposed. The government wanted to tax licensed operators 29% of Gross Gaming Revenue, which is absurdly high even when compared to the most conservative of countries with similar laws. Operators would simply not find it economically viable to operate with this tax system in place.
As the discussion continued on the wording of the Remote Gaming bill, steps were taken to try to tighten up the current landscape. This included a fine of up to 800,000 Euro being imposed on sites that continued to take business from Dutch players. At the time of writing this article, there has not been a single site charged under this penalty, so it has really only been used as a scare tactic to have some sites leave the market.
Another delay in having this bill signed into law was the changing of government in the Netherlands, which ended up being a very drawn out process requiring an alliance of several parties. Finally, it appears that the law is going to come into effect, although there is still some language to be sorted out. Most importantly, there is a provision in the bill that states a company must have a presence in Holand to receive a license, but the definition of “presence” is unclear. It appears now that the application process will start in late 2018 and the first licenses will be awarded in early 2019.
Online Casino Software Available in the Netherlands
The potential of stiff fines and the continued uncertainty about the legal climate for online gambling has definitely had an effect on the current operators, as many software companies have opted to stay out of the country until the laws come into effect. Dutch players can still find all the slot machines, casino games and other betting products available online, including software from the following vendors amongst others:
- Real Time Gaming
- Every Matrix
With thousands of slots titles available at these suppliers and the others who have chosen to stay In the market, players from the Netherlands are going to have no issues finding the games that will give them hours of enjoyment.
Best Online Casinos for Dutch Players
The majority of online casino operators have chosen to remain active in the Dutch market despite the threat of heavy fines. Until one site is successfully prosecuted, we don’t see this changing. The only way fewer sites would be available is if more software vendors choose to voluntarily leave the market, leaving operators out in the cold. That means that for today, our readers in the Netherlands will have many casinos to choose from, and this is where our rating system comes into place. Our review team has decades of combined experience in the online casino space, so when they look at a casino, they will leave no stone unturned looking for the best options for your deposits. Let’s get you started with a few of our most highly recommended sites, all of which are open to Dutch real-money players.