Internet Gambling Legal in Netherlands from 2015
THE HAGUE, 23/05/13 - The provision of games of chance on the Internet will become legal in the Netherlands from 2015. The cabinet released a draft bill Wednesday.
Gambling on the Internet has taken off enormously in recent years. Dutch players seek their salvation here with providers operating from abroad with poker, sports competitions and casino games. This has led to lower incomes at Holland Casino, owned by the Dutch State, which has been loss-making in three of the last four years.
The cabinet now hopes to persuade foreign providers to apply for a licence to operate legally on the Dutch market. A lower tax rate will apply for online games of chance: 20 percent compared with the 29 percent that Holland Casino and gaming halls have to pay on their gaming revenues.
This differentiation is controversial. The present players on the Dutch market have expressed their fears earlier that newcomers will be favoured. But Finance State Secretary Frans Weekers is now saying that there will have to be a lower tax rate for online offerings because it has emerged that the big Internet players abroad will stay away if the rates are too high.
In the coalition accord between the conservatives (VVD) and Labour (PvdA), it was already specified that the market would be opened up. Conditions have now been laid down for this to combat addiction and crime. For example, providers of games of chance must help keep gambling behaviour under control. They must also contribute to an addiction fund. Additionally, there will be a national register of players with addiction problems.
The proposed bill will now be with interested parties for consultation for two months. After that, the Lower and Upper House will have to give their fiat.