Gambling laws in the Netherlands are due for an update, but you won’t have any trouble finding a place to play casino games online today. The laws that are in effect right now are somewhat outdated and do not permit anyone to operate an online casino, but there are no laws against us merely playing online as individuals.
While lawmakers debate passing legislation to clarify the issue, the following casinos are happy to accept you as a customer right now.
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Current gaming laws permit only the state-owned monopoly operator Holland Casino to offer gambling of any kind, and since Holland Casino does not offer online gambling, there are no true “Netherlands casino sites.” However, gambling sites headquartered in other countries can make the argument that they are compliant with all laws in their home countries.
The primary reason some gambling sites do not accept Dutch customers is in anticipation of new legislation that could be implemented as early as next year. If and when the government does begin regulating online gambling, there will most certainly be a licensing process that will include a background check.
Some casinos voluntarily restrict customers from the Netherlands in the hopes of eventually applying for a license. Others opt to accept Dutch customers right now and deal with the consequences of future legislation later. We have confirmed that every casino recommended on this page does accept players from the Netherlands.
Privatization and the Future of Online Gambling in the Netherlands
The Dutch government has been considering privatizing the land-based Holland Casino properties for years, but it has been an extremely protected process. Political will do take action was sidetracked in 2012 and 2013 as local casinos suddenly began to lose money. This would have made it difficult for the government to get a decent price when selling off the casinos to private investors, so they delayed plans to sell Holland Casino in order to bring it back up to a profitable level.
Those in charge of the casino blamed the lack of profitability on general economic conditions as well as growing competition from online casinos. The government has since taken two actions to combat online gambling, but we should note that they have never once targeted individual players.
First, the government ordered all banking institutions to prevent financial transactions to and from online casinos. The banking industry refused to comply with the request on the grounds that it was infeasible to identify gambling transactions and questioned the legality of the order in the first place.
The gambling regulator (KSA) later issued an advisory stating that advertisements for online casinos are illegal. That measure to curb online gambling was successful. To this day, it is prohibited to air or publish ads encouraging people to visit online casinos.
Holland Casino returned to its moneymaking ways in 2014 and has continued to operate profitably since then. Now that the casinos are making money again, talks to privatize the industry have resumed. The latest word is that the government could secure a private buyer during the second half of 2017.
The government may also finally legalize and regulate online gambling in 2017. Doing so would bring the industry out from the shadows, allow regulators to monitor the industry and provide tax revenue. As an added bonus for the government, Holland Casino will likely fetch a higher price if it is able to offer real money games online.
The prospect of legalization and regulation has earned widespread approval in the online gambling industry. Last year, more than 200 gambling operators expressed their enthusiasm for legalization and an interest in applying for licenses once legislation is enacted.
One of the biggest holdups in actually passing legislation has been the issue of tax rates. A 2014 proposal suggested that online casinos be taxed at a rate of 20%, which is significantly lower than the 29% tax rate applied to land-based casinos. Lawmakers at the time said the lower rates were necessary to make licensed gambling sites competitive on the international market.
A new proposal submitted in January of 2016 suggested amending the proposed Remote Gambling Bill and tax online casinos at a 29% rate – equal to what the land-based industry pays. In any case, it goes to show that the debate now revolves around the details. It seems that legalization is a foregone conclusion among lawmakers and industry types. It will only be a matter of time before online gambling is regulated and taxed in the Netherlands.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.