Online gambling hasn’t just taken off in the UK over the last few years. Most other countries have found their way to online casinos as well – except for the Netherlands. For a country internationally known as a Disneyworld of Vice, it seems that gambling isn’t a sin the Dutch indulge in.
Don’t let first impressions fool you, however. Behind the strict government regulations on gambling and betting, a thriving system of loopholes allows Dutch players to gamble to their hearts’ desires on most online casino websites.
If you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands or are staying there for a longer period of time, it might be worth reading into these loopholes and know exactly what you’re up against.
Gambling in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has two types of casino: the fourteen locations of Holland Casino and all other casinos. The Holland Casino brand has a mandated monopoly on casino activities, established in the 1960s. All other casinos are technically not classified as casinos, but registered as gaming halls, or arcades for grownups. This is where you find different types of gambling machines.
The main difference between the two types of casinos is that Holland Casino has all the exceptions: their jackpots and stakes are higher, and they’re the only casino that can offer table games. To compete with these (unfair) advantages, the gaming halls will offer a free entrance and usually provide snacks and drinks, too. Most bigger towns and cities will have at least one of these gaming halls.
In practice, you have the choice between low stakes and a limited number of games, or higher stakes and a full casino experience.
Online gambling in the Netherlands
The above situation isn’t unique. Most countries have both types of casino. To experience the full complexity of gambling under the Dutch law, we need to look at online gambling. In theory, this is a brief section. Online casinos are illegal, since the gambling law (from the 1960s) doesn’t account for them.
In practice, it is illegal to offer online casino games to Dutch citizens. The gaming commission has tried to enforce a geographical IP ban, but to no avail. Freedom of information was deemed more important than restricting gambling websites, and the results are quite predictable.
Online gambling is a daily practice for many Dutch citizens. Websites do get penalized for being too accommodating to Dutch players (by offering support in the Dutch language or allowing Dutch payment processes), but other than that, the main concern is that you pay your taxes over your winnings (over € 449).
If you find yourself in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, your online casino visits will be uninterrupted. You can even read about which casinos work best from the Netherlands to optimize your gambling experience and feel right at home.