Changes in the policy on gambling

The government wants to update policy on gambling. A new licensing system will be introduced for providers of online games of chance. This will make it easier to protect players against gambling addiction and similar risks, and prevent money laundering associated with illegal gambling. The government also wants to privatise Holland Casino and strengthen the position of lotteries.

The cabinet has approved the plans to amend gambling policy. The Senate and the House of Representatives now need to approve the necessary bill. It is not yet certain when the changes will take effect.

Safe online betting

Online games of chance like poker or sports betting are illegal. This means that those parties who do provide such services are not supervised. And players are not protected from gambling addiction.

Starting in autumn 2017, the government want to issue licences to providers of online games of chance. This will make it possible to make these providers meet certain conditions. For example, licence holders will need to help players keep their gambling under control. One way of doing this is to remind them to play responsibly, for example by showing them how much money they are losing as they gamble.

The government also wants licence 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 voluntarily basis or otherwise. This will make it easier to protect players against gambling addiction.  

The Gaming Authority will monitor whether providers are keeping to the rules.

More scope for new casino providers

Holland Casino is the only legal provider of casino gambling at real gaming tables. For example, poker and roulette. The government wants to privatise Holland Casino. Of its 14 establishments, 10 will continue as Holland Casino. The other 4 will be sold separately. In addition, 2 licences will be granted for new casinos. This will allow new casino providers to enter the market and bring the total number of legal casinos to 16.

It will be illegal for any other organisation with the word ‘casino’ in its trading name to have real gaming tables on the premises. Such establishments will, however, be permitted to offer other games of chance, such as slot machines, if they have the correct licence. The Gaming Authority will monitor these establishments. Illegal casinos may be subject to heavy fines.

Strengthening the position of lotteries

There are various lotteries operating in the Netherlands. The government’s modernisation plans will help to create a more social, policy-based and legally future-proof lottery system. These plans are also in line with the modernisation of gambling policy as a whole.