Some 40 gambling companies are expected to apply for a licence to offer online betting and other games from October when new legislation will take effect, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.
The Netherlands was one of the few European countries which had not opened up the market to online gambling, leading players to use sites which were unlicensed and did not pay tax here.
‘It was high time the Netherlands allowed online gambling,’ René Jansen of government gambling watchdog Kansspeelautoriteit told broadcaster NOS. ‘It’s 2021, the internet is everywhere and it doesn’t stop at the border. It is currently unregulated, no one is watching and it is beyond policing. We are now going to create a safe environment.’
Jansen said he expected that 35 out of the first 40 applicants would be eligible for a licence.
The law, which was six years in the making, comes into effect on Thursday. ‘Providers have to have provisions in place to prevent addiction, they must be reliable and prevent money laundering and the games must be fair,’ Jansen said.
Dutch contenders for a licence include Holland Casino, the Nederlandse Loterij, and Novamedia (Postcodeloterij), ZEbetting & Gaming, Fair Play Casino and Jack’s Casino. Big international player Bet365 is also expected to apply.
Companies, such as Unibet, Pokerstars and Bwin, which targeted the Dutch market unlicensed, will now go to the back of the queue. ‘They will be sitting on the bench for the time being,’ Jansen said. ‘The parties which will be going into business from October 1 will have the advantage as far as advertising is concerned.’
It is expected that licenced companies will earn around €800m in the Netherlands in 2022.
De Nederlandse Loterij and Novamedia have said they would give part of the money put up by players to charity.
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