The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called on lawmakers in the Netherlands to introduce a national online gambling framework to help protect consumers and allow the country to benefit from iGaming taxation.
The Dutch Senate today (February 5) starts a debate on the Netherlands’ Remote Gaming Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives in 2016 but has not progressed further since.
The EGBA is backing plans to regulate, highlighting how the Netherlands is one of only three counties in the European Union not to have a regulated iGaming market in place.
According to the EGBA, this is forcing consumers to access unregulated gambling websites online and costing the Netherlands tax revenue of about €175m (£154m/$200m) per year.
The EGBA also estimates that some 1.9 million Dutch citizens – more than 10% of the total population – participate in unregulated online gambling activities.
EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said: “The introduction of a Dutch online gambling framework is urgently needed. The Netherlands is now one of the few EU countries who do not regulate online gambling – and this situation is no longer tenable.”
The EGBA has also praised the work done by Dutch Minister Sander Dekker to push the bill through, saying a revamped, multi-licence framework would help improve consumer protection measures in the country.
“The EGBA welcomes Minister Dekker’s ongoing commitment to modernise the current laws and advocates for the introduction of a well-regulated, multi-licence model,” Haijer said.
“For Dutch people, whether they play poker or like betting on sports, they should be able to find all the products they are looking for with companies regulated in the Netherlands that pay taxes there and apply local consumer safeguards.
“A licensing model which facilitates this consumer choice will create a better functioning market with players who are properly protected and valuable tax receipts for the Dutch state.”
Last week, a report commissioned by Holland Casino highlighted a rise in illegal gambling in the country, with a survey from research and strategy consultancy Motivaction suggesting the market is worth around €600m annually. Around 1.8 million people gambled illegally online in the last year, up by 300,000 on 2016.
Image: Santeri Viinamäki