Dutch Government to Liberalize Gambling Legislation

9 November 2001
A parliamentary commission today gave the Dutch government the green light to change its gambling legislation. A new gambling act will be prepared and discussed in Parliament in Spring 2002. Among several changes, Internet gambling will be allowed.

A parliamentary commission today gave the Dutch government the green light to change its gambling legislation. A new gambling act will be prepared and discussed in Parliament in Spring 2002.

The most important changes will be:

  • The number of the monopolistic state Holland Casinos will be increased.
  • The number of licenses for nation-wide charitable lotteries will be tripled.
  • More varieties of games will be allowed by the existing six nation-wide lotteries.
  • The state lottery, which is transferring its profits to the Ministry of Finance, will become a good-causes lottery.
  • The distribution of profits among the good causes will be reviewed. A program of certification of good causes will be introduced; only certified organizations will be able to receive or redistribute monies from the lotteries.
  • Gaming on the Internet will be allowed on a limited, national scale.
  • Sweepstakes and other free games (phone-ins) will be excluded from the scope of the Gaming Act to enable the industry to use these by way of promotion.
  • Gaming regulation will be concentrated under one department--the Department of Justice-¬≠instead of the five departments currently involved.
  • The existing Gaming Control Board will be replaced by or changed into another gaming authority, that will be charged not only with advising the government, but also with the operational control of lotteries and gaming in the Netherlands.
  • Enforcement of the Gaming Act and prosecution of illegal gambling will be intensified by the police and the public prosecutor's office (pro active surveillance).
  • The existing lotteries tax of 25 percent on the prices of the winners will be replaced by a new tax on the turnover of the licensee (10 percent). The 33.33 percent tax on gross gaming revenue of casino gaming will, however, remain.

The under Minister of Justice Ella Kalsbeek advised the members of Parliament also on the international activities of Dutch operator Novamedia (in Sweden, Uzbekistan, Germany, Switzerland, Dutch Antilles and Canada).

In general, Dutch law does not accept cross-border gambling activities (operating, marketing, selling, etc.) in The Netherlands. The Dutch legislation however, does not forbid that Dutch operators will carry out gambling activities in countries outside the Netherlands. Therefore Kalsbeek will allow those international expansions on the condition that it will not create a conflict with the Dutch laws and the laws of the country where those operations will take place. In return foreign operators will be allowed to start operating in The Netherlands.




Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.