Although the Dutch government has liberal regulations with regard to prostitution and soft drugs, Dutch online poker laws are a different story. Online poker rooms are not allowed in The Netherlands. There is also only one strong casino that provides the proper environment for poker players to hone their card skills. This is the Holland Casino, which is owned by the state.
Recent changes in the Dutch online poker laws, and legalized casino however, are changing the status of regulated online gambling in the country. 18 months from now, duly licensed online casino operators can enter the Dutch market.
The legislation, titled as the "Dutch Remote Gambling Act," was drafted last year and has been recently approved by the Council of Ministers. The bill is now expected to be tackled in the Lower Parliament after the Council of State's technical advice. After the Lower Parliament, the laws will be passed on to the House of the Senate for rubber stamping on summer of this year.
It is expected that the bill will be published in the Official Gazette in the first quarter of next year. Kansspelautoriteit, the nation's official gaming authority, and the top games will hopefully give out licenses to online gambling operators in the second or third quarter of 2015.
Although the country's population is relatively small, 95% of households have internet connections. The country is even ranked 7th in the gambling market in the EU by H2 Gambling Capital. The organization also stated that the Dutch online market is projected to earn a gross income of €200 million. It is believed that sports betting will be the dominant gambling product. GamblingData in Amsterdam Markets also forecasts a €266.5 million initial income, increasing to €370million by 2016. There is no foreseen cap on how many licenses will be awarded, and international liquidity will be accessible to players. Unofficially, Dutch online poker laws set the tax for operators at 20%, 9% lower than local casinos because the government believes a bigger rate would not attract investments.
The movement to establish Dutch online poker laws have been in the works for years, and things are looking bright now. Even if there are still potential factors that can cause delay, the approval of the law by the Council of Ministers is an essential step toward having the legislation fully passed.