Active players: 8.900.000
Regulated gambling products: sports betting, land based casinos & poker, lotteries, horse racing
Operator types: sports betting monopoly (De Lotto), unlicensed betting sites, brick & mortar casino monopoly (Holland Casino)
Designated authority: Netherlands Gaming Control Board (Kansspelautoriteit)
Status: Non regulated. Betting sites are persecuted if they operate in the Dutch language
The Netherlands are one of the most progressive countries in the world, both in economic and cultural terms. The birthplace of Johan Cruyff and total football, holds liberal views on most everyday aspects, as the Dutch heritage celebrates diversity and freedom of action. Contrary to this fact though, the Dutch government has lagged behind when it comes to correct gaming regulation, as they have until recently retained the outdated view that the state should be the sole gambling provider. Thankfully for local bettors, the government has announced a new licensing system will be implemented that will allow foreign and Dutch betting sites to legally operate in the Netherlands.
5 things you should know
A new gambling law will be effective in 2017
You can place your sports bets wherever you want
The Dutch government has unsuccessfully tried to block access on iGaming operators
No legal actions have been taken against players
Your winnings are not taxed
Online betting is freely enjoyed in the nation of Netherlands as the lawmakers’ attempts to block payments on foreign bookmakers have been proven fruitless. The only restriction comes in term of language, as in the past, the Kansspelautoriteit has warned it would fine any betting sites that offer their sportsbook in Dutch. The current lack of a licensing system, means that bookies have no legal or financial obligations towards the state and can technically accept players from every part of Holland. The upcoming Remote Gambling Act will modernize the Dutch iGaming market, as it is set to follow in the footsteps of the UK and Denmark. A unified 29% tax on GGR (plus a 1.50% contribution to the Gaming Authority and 0.25% to the Addiction Fund) will be required from every operator, in order to obtain a five year licence. Dutch lawmakers have promised to lower the tax requirements to 25% by 2020, to allow for increased competitiveness inside the market.
Local bettors can access any number of online bookmakers from any part of the world. The Netherlands Gaming Control Board does not specifically forbid online gaming activities, meaning that no legal action can be taken towards any player who wishes to punt on the internet. However, this also means that punters are unprotected in the face of scam bookies, as the current legislation does not guarantee their financial security. Once again, this will all change within 2017, as the Remote Gambling Act will firstly heavily fine and consequently revoke the licence of any operators who try to cheat Dutch players.
Competition among bookmakers
The laissez faire nature of the Dutch betting market works to the benefit of both foreign operators and local punters, as the lack of financial obligations, means that betting sites can easily offer higher odds and various bookmakers promotions. Every bookie worth his salt has a presence in the Netherlands, as Dutch players regularly enjoy sports betting. Currently, 10% of all wagers are placed on Unibet, who are expected to continue dominating the local market following the upcoming legislation changes. Other key bookmakers include 10bet, Bet365 Nederland and Marathonbet.
Like we mentioned above, the government had attempted to block transactions taking place with online bookmakers, however, they were largely ignored from Dutch banks and payment service providers. Every major or lesser known payment method can be used, including bank cards, vouchers, e-wallets like Neteller & Skrill, as well as the local iDEAL. iDEAL is a Dutch payment system that lets its users deposit and withdraw on any bookmaker directly through their bank accounts.
The gears are finally turning in the Netherlands and if all goes as planned, local players will benefit from the new licensing system. Although some people might claim that taxing the betting sites will result to lowered odds, I highly doubt that 29% on GGR will make investing in the Dutch market commercially unviable. We also should not forget that the current structure does not safeguard punters who might fall victim to illegitimate betting sites. What remains is to be seen is how many bookmakers will actually apply for these new licences.