Dutch state casino privatisation on back burner, may not go ahead

Photo: Scheveningen Beach.com

Plans to privatise the state-owned Holland Casino group will not go now go ahead before 2020 and may be postponed altogether, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

The issue should have been debated in the senate on Tuesday but justice minister Sander Dekker cancelled the vote because of the volume of objections.

In particular, senators are concerned that privatised casinos may encourage gambling and are worried about the way that the government planned to proceed with the privatisation process. The draft legislation was approved by MPs two years ago.

The plan includes selling 10 of the 14 branches under their current name while the other four locations will be sold as a group. The cabinet is also planning to open up the casino market to new providers – with two licences up for grabs.

Dekker has until June to come up with a new proposal which will win senate backing. ‘We may adapt the law, withdraw it altogether or go for a vote after all,’ Dekker said in a note to senators.

Senators will vote next week on legislation to legalise online betting and gambling.

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