State firms get two online gambling licences, as Dutch market opens up

Two companies owned by the Dutch state are among the ten winners of a licence to provide online gambling in the Netherlands from October 1.

The state lottery company Nederlandse Loterij and the Holland Casino group have both been given a licence to offer online gaming, such as roulette, poker and sports betting from Friday.

Dutch companies Fair Play and BetCity also won licences, along with six foreign firms. Four of the foreign firms are based in Malta, one in the UK and one in Belgium.

Until now, online gambling has been illegal in the Netherlands and companies which target the Dutch audience by, for example, using the Dutch payment system Ideal, were excluded from competing for the new licences.

They may, however, be able to apply in a second round next year.


In total, 30 companies had applied for a licence in a market which already brings in an estimated €500m a year from Dutch punters.

In order to qualify for a licence, companies must agree to monitor players’ behaviour and take steps if they feel people may become problematic gamblers. If punters persist, they can be banned from the site and their names will be incorporated in a central register.

‘Play must be safe and much needs to be done to prevent addiction,’ Rene Jansen of the Dutch gambling authority told Nieuwsuur earlier this week. ‘They also need to have measures to stop money laundering.’

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