The regulation and legalisation of online gambling in the Netherlands is one of the industry’s most anticipated events. Casino and betting operators will however have to be patient a little longer as the Dutch Remote Games of Chance Act (Wet Koa) will come into force 1 April 2021, a month later than originally announced.
Is Online Gambling Currently Legal in the Netherlands?
Gambling online in the Netherlands is an interesting case of a lack of formalised regulation not overriding overwhelming the rights of the public. Legally online gambling is illegal, however, the government recognised and acceded to the fact that the Dutch love to gamble.
This means that while online games of chance are considered illegal, it is not illegal for Dutch residents to gamble online. The only caveat that the government has included is that it wants to the casino and betting sites to be hosted in the Netherlands.
Despite this caveat, however, the local authorities have made the decision not to take legal action against players who gamble at offshore sites.
Players who choose to play at offshore casinos are encouraged to consider online casinos that are regulated by trusted authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the Swedish Gambling Authority and UK Gambling Commission. This ensures that welcome bonuses will be fair, there will be transparency around wagering requirements and that you can expect fair play.
Scope of the Dutch Online Gambling Market
Earlier this month the Dutch Gaming Authority (Ksa) published a report outlining the state of online gambling in the Netherlands. The Ksa believes that with the processes and protections the Gaming Act will bring to the market they will convert 90% of the current “illegal” gambling community into players at licensed operators.
The report took into consideration the impact of global digitalisation on consumers appetite for online games and what this means for the upcoming legislation in terms of protecting both players and the newly licensed gambling industry.
Here are 10 highlights from the official 41 page Ksa report:
- Market analysts predict that by 2024 legal online gambling in the Netherlands will be worth between €757-€827 million, with the total market (including illegal gambling) measuring around €1.1 billion.
- The Ksa has set a three-year target for market channelisation of 83%, however, they believe that 90% or more will be possible due to the duty of care afforded players under the new Gaming Act.
- While the number of gamblers playing at legal casinos could hit 80% and more market analysts are concerned that player spend could be as low as 70% given that the Netherlands intends to install a gambling tax of 29%.
- Despite the expected surge in online gambling revenues, a total of €1.1 billion by 2024, the land-based gambling market is expected to be relatively untouched as it is generally worth €2.7 billion annually, COVID-19 notwithstanding, a figure which is considered maintainable over the long term.
- Online betting could see marked growth post the introduction of the new Gaming Act as online betting is already a far more popular market segment than local betting given the option to stake wagers on international and local sports.
- More than 85% of all bets are placed on football and tennis, during lockdown esports, virtual sports, table tennis and trotting (in Sweden) all saw substantial increases in bets placed.
- Online poker is also expected to see an increase of between 75%-100% due to lockdown and the new Gaming Act.
- Mobile gambling is currently popular in the Netherlands contributing up to 50% of gambling revenues, this is predicted to increase to 65% by 2024.
- Despite gambling taxes of 29% for players and 1.75% of GGR for operators, only 0.25% is earmarked for the addiction prevention fund.
- Once in force, the Gaming Act will allow for licensed operators to advertise in the mainstream media as well as allowing them to entertain sponsorship contracts.
For the most part, we avoided listing the report's data and projections around game and gambling preferences and other metrics that require large data sets as the Ksa noted in its report that due to casino games technically being illegal offshore casinos have not shared any relevant player data with them.
As an example, they note that only 3% of Dutch gamblers play casino games, yet in a market where adults of 18 years and older equate to 14.2 million souls their survey had only 50,000 respondents. Given the negligible sample size, the results are not worth serious consideration.