Dutch gambling policy breaks EU rules

The Dutch government is actively increasing spending on advertising state-run gambling in contravention of EU rules, according to a leaked letter from internal markets commissioner Charlie McCreevy, reports ANP news service.

The Dutch government has a monopoly on the Dutch gambling market.
While the government claims advertising expenditure for the Lotto lottery has fallen, figures from research bureau Nielsen Media show that the number of adverts for the Lotto rose 42% between 2002 and 2004, McCreevy said.
In addition, evidence that the state monopoly on gambling has led to a fall in addiction is questionable and there is no evidence at all to prove it has reduced gambling-related crime, said McCreevy.
The commissioner believes that the Netherlands is pursuing a ‘policy of expansion’ when it comes to the state monopoly for gambling and says there is no reason other European companies cannot enter the Dutch gambling market.
State-owned De Lotto and Holland Casino have a monopoly on commercial gambling in the Netherlands and the government has recently given Holland Casino exclusive rights to run internet gambling in the Netherlands.
A number of foreign operators are currently trying to build casinos in the Netherlands but have been refused licences.
A justice ministry spokesman told ANP that the cabinet has replied to McCreevy’s claims and that the government maintains its view that the state’s gambling monopoly reduces addiction and crime.

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