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A Brief History of Gambling in The Netherlands

The Netherlands is known for its liberal laws and liberal outlooks on social issues. However, this isn’t the case when it comes to gambling policy. The county is rather strict about it and it has been throughout its history.

Luckily for those who are interested in Gambling in the Netherlands, this is starting to change in recent years. It’s especially true when it comes to online gambling since the government treats that industry as a potential source of revenue and one that rallies on the latest technology innovations.

History of Gambling in the Netherlands

The history of gambling in the Netherlands goes a long way.  It has its roots in the 14th century and since then the government has strictly controlled the practice through a series of laws and tax regulations. However, an agency that’s responsible for gambling as a whole is relatively new.

The comprehensive Betting and gambling Act was introduced in 1964. It was rather restrictive since it took the “prohibited if not licensed” approach to gambling. That means that only the government can allow for gambling and that was the case until the late 90s when the laws became more liberal.

Gambling authority

Most counties that allow for gambling have a central agency that provides licenses and regulates the practice. This wasn’t the case with the Netherlands for a long time. This institution was introduced in 2012. The institution known as Kansspelautoritet is technically a part of the Ministry of Justice and it has 3 main goals.

It protects the gamblers, it battles illegal gambling, and it works on battling the addiction which is the goal of all the governmental institutions that work on gambling. Within this, there’s a variety of policies and institutions that Kansspelautoritet uses to reach these goals.

Online Gambling

Online gambling is a recent development in the Netherlands, as it is in most of the world. However, it has quickly become popular since the country has a long history of gambling and the population is tech-savvy and it took to gambling online rather quickly.

There are over a million and a half active online gamblers in the Netherlands and that number is always on the rise. The industry is now worth about $3 billion and just five years ago it was worth about $500 million.  This includes the revenue from offshore gambling sites that target the Dutch in particular.

Holland Casino

Holland Casino is a central part of the gambling industry in the Netherlands.  It’s a government-run casino monopoly that has operated in the country since the 1970s. Therefore, it’s the largest gambling establishment and if you’ve gambled in the Netherlands, it’s probably been in one of their casinos.

All the profits made by the 14 casinos that are operated by Holland Casino go directly into the Dutch treasury. The casino features all of the most popular games and the Amsterdam branch is the largest and most popular at the moment. Slot machines are the most widely used and there are over 42.000 of them available.

Sports betting

Sports betting is also very popular in the Netherlands and the industry is run by the same institution as gambling. Soccer is the most-watched sport in the country and most bets are placed on soccer results. It’s followed closely by field hockey.

There’s also betting on golf and tennis and cycling is rather important in the Netherlands as well, both as a sport and a method of transportation. Cycling has a dedicated fan base and therefore it’s also a big part of the sports betting industry.

The Remote Gambling Act

The remote gambling act is a law that deals with online gambling in the Netherlands and it came to be when the practice was already popular and common with the government trying to catch up with the changes in the industry and in technology needed for it.

The main change that the law brought to the industry is that it allowed foreign investors to put funds towards the industry. This wasn’t possible until 2019 when the law was passed but it was common due to the loopholes that come with offshore gambling.

The future

The future of gambling in the Netherlands will probably be similar to the changes the industry will face in the rest of Europe and the world in general.  The industry will turn towards cryptocurrency as a payment method since there are a lot of benefits in doing that, and the Dutch market is ready for the change.

There’s also a trend in turning away from land-based casinos and towards the online gambling practice since that’s safer in this day and age and more appealing to a younger demographic that’s just finding its place in the gambling world.

To Sum Up

The Netherlands has a long history of gambling going back centuries. However, modern rules and regulations regarding gambling are recent and they are rather strict in comparison to what you may have in mind when you think about the Dutch laws.

The central gambling authority was created in 2012 and its goal is to protect the gamblers and prevent gambling addiction.  The Netherlands also allows for online gambling since it’s already become a common practice. The laws now allow for foreign investments in the gambling industry.  Chances are that the industry will continue to move in that area especially with the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method.

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