The failure of successive Dutch governments to pass legislation to regulate online gambling is a disgrace, according to Jan Suyver, the head of the Dutch gambling authority who is leaving the job after six years.
‘The Netherlands is almost the only country left in the EU which has not regulated online gambling, Suyver says in an interview with the Financieele Dagblad. ‘It is organised everywhere I go, in Bucharest, in Prague. It is a disgrace for the Netherlands, and abroad they do not understand why legislation has not yet been passed.’
One reason, he suggests, is opposition from the two strict Protestant parties in parliament – ChristenUnie and the SGP. The Socialists too have trouble with legalising gambling, the FD points out.
An estimated 500,000 to one million people in the Netherlands use online gambling sites and by not passing legislation ‘you are keeping the illegal circuit going’, says Suyver. ‘We have a moral duty to make sure that legislation is in place,’ he told the paper.
The legislation to licence online gambling in the Netherlands is currently with the senate, which had been due to discuss it after this summer’s recess, the Telegraaf said earlier this year.
Currently, foreign firms are not supposed to target gamblers in the Netherlands, although the ban is widely ignored. The current laws date back 50 years, before the advent of internet.
The draft legislation also states that the licence holders will have to contribute to a special fund to help gambling addicts. In addition, there will be a national register of players who break self-imposed limits and will be banned from playing.
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