The Netherlands shifted the landscape of the gambling industry in the country when a new law passed to allow online gambling licenses. This was a huge shift away from when internet gambling was a legal grey area in the country, and the new Remote Gambling Act (Wet Kansspelen op afstand), which came into effect on April 1st 2021, was intended to bring a degree of order and regulation to the chaotic world of online gambling.
Operators are now able to legally offer any kind of online gambling to Dutch players providing they have a licence from the Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, KSA). However, there are strict rules they must follow when it comes to responsible gambling, protecting players, and more recently, limits on advertising.
It’s now been 18 months since the Remote Gambling Act was put into place, and the industry has exploded. Both domestic and international online operators have flocked to the market generating a super-competitive landscape. Figures from the Dutch Gambling Authority show that the total amount gambled online has rocketed up by 45% in just the first 18 months, hitting an impressive gross gambling revenue (GGR) of €1.08 billion in 2022.
Consumer Protection and Responsible Gambling
Dutch authorities have made their number one focus after the introduction of remote gambling licenses protecting players and promoting responsible gambling. The KSA has created strict regulations for the industry and has become a standard for player safety.
One important element is the Central Exclusion Register. This allows players to voluntarily ban themselves from all licensed sites. This is revolutionary when it comes to tackling problem gambling and 150,000 people in the country have signed up for it already.
Other measures that the KSA requires licensed gambling companies to use are deposit limits, timeouts, and reality checks. These are the measures that really make the gambling industry safe and productive in the country as players can feel protected by the regulatory industry.
In fact, KSA have recently released a report that states that 92% of Dutch people now play only through legal websites, and the stat for new players is up to 98%. This clearly shows that the Dutch regulatory board is doing something right.
Taxes and Contributions to the Dutch Economy
It’s not only operators that have benefitted from the growth of the remote gambling industry – the economy has also seen a fantastic contribution from the sector. The government’s current tax model takes 29% of GGR plus an additional 1.5% for the Addiction Fund (underlining how seriously the Dutch gambling model takes player safety). This has ultimately drawn in approximately €900m in taxes and contributions over the first 18 months. Online casino games vs. the house accounted for 72% of the revenue in 2022 with sports betting hitting 24.8% of GGR.
The funds are allocated to various programs including addiction prevention and treatment, youth education on responsible gambling, and supporting other individuals affected collaterally by gambling problems.
Domestic and International Competition
Both domestic and international companies have jumped at the opportunities offered by the new Dutch online gambling landscape. Homegrown operations like Holland Casino and Nederlandse Loterij now offer internet sites, while international bigshots like Bet365, 888, and William Hill have entered the competition too.
Kevin Arninkhof of renowned casino review site casinotopsonline.com has commented:
“The wider range of gambling options is fantastic for Dutch players. With the new influx of well-established companies, the industry has a great opportunity to learn from their experience to innovate quality and scope in online casino games.”
Indeed, it’s this competition that has forced the Dutch gaming industry into a scramble of competition which is constantly improving services available to players.
Player Demographics and Trends
Analyzing the demographic of players gives some fascinating insights into how gambling is evolving in the Netherlands. A new report by KSA demonstrates that young adults between 18 and 23 accounted for €102 million (9%) of the 2022 total BSR. The authority believes it’s the easy access of playing online that has drawn this younger crowd compared to the older generation who still seek out traditional casinos, but is still in line with predictions based on overall population demographics.
In the Netherlands, sports betting is still the most popular type of online gambling. Football, tennis, and basketball are Dutch punters favorite sport to lay money on. E-Sports betting has also experienced a boom in line with worldwide trends.
On July 1st 2023, KSA issued a crackdown notice on all untargeted advertisements including on TV and radio. This aims to protect vulnerable groups with further restrictions on these ads reaching minors. Operators, expecting this to cut into revenue, upped the frequency of their ads in the months before the ban, but have since settled down with only a handful of cases of warnings and fines imposed by KSA since the ban.
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