At the moment there is a meeting planned on February 5 for the Senate. A meeting in which it must be determined within which rules the Act on Remote Gaming may be allowed to proceed in the Netherlands. It is expected that approximately one week after this meeting a final vote will take place. This will determine whether the law will actually come and when this should all take place.
It is the turn of the Senate
Since the upcoming Act on Remote Gaming was already approved by the House of Representatives in 2016, it is only the Senate’s turn to give its approval. Is it determined by vote that the Remote Gaming Act can pass and is the result thus positive? Then the legalization of online casinos in the Netherlands can be put into motion. On the other hand, this also means that the privatization of Holland Casino will go ahead. Holland Casino, which is therefore now the only major land-based casino allowed to offer table games to the Dutch gambler.
Debate on February 5
Despite the fact that there is no certainty about the outcome of the vote, it seems that there will be a positive outcome. The Ministry of Justice and Security has asked in writing for definitive answers to outstanding questions in order to come to such a vote. By doing so, the government indicates through a small detour that it is ready to legalize gambling in the Netherlands, which has been in play for years!
Open up the Dutch gambling market and privatize Holland Casino
Looking at the regulations in the Netherlands, it takes about 18 months before a new law is enacted. It is also expected that the Remote Gaming Act will take quite some time. After all, the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament must be consulted on the secondary legislation, while on the other hand the Dutch Gaming Authority must be consulted. After all, they will have to hold a public consultation regarding the licensing procedure.
In the best case scenario, as of the second half of 2020 online casinos will be licensed in the Netherlands. We are therefore keeping our date of reference as July 1, 2020. However, it may well be that this will be the date on which the licensing window opens and by which the Dutch Gaming Authority gives itself a total of six months to finally assess the license applications. If this is the case, this means that it will not be possible to actually play at a Dutch online casino until January 1, 2021!
Is the Dutch market for online gambling attractive?
Providers interested in operating an online casino on the Dutch gambling market will have to count on relatively high tax rates. For example, by default a total of 29% must be paid on the GGR (net turnover generated by the wagers on games) and in the principles there is also an additional 2% tax. Furthermore, considerable investments must be made in order to receive a license. The one-time costs are estimated at €800,000 and that’s not all. Operators must also have a Dutch customer service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this way, it is expected that only the larger operators will be able to meet the licensing requirements and the smaller casinos will be at a disadvantage from the very beginning.
Despite the fact that it may seem that our small country is not very attractive for online gambling, nothing is less true. Recently, for example, it was revealed that in the last 2 years 20% more people have started to gamble online. On the other hand, internet usage in the Netherlands is increasing at high speed and GDP per capita is in the top 5, making it hard for operators to overlook the budget of the Dutch. What the vote will reveal and where we will end up with online gambling in terms of legislation? That will become increasingly clear in the coming weeks!