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Current Regulation of the
Netherlands Gambling Market
While the Netherlands is a country that is renowned for relaxed laws in many areas, the legislation on internet gambling here isn’t yet quite as liberal as in some other matters.

There has been talk of new laws going through for some time but for the time being it is technically illegal to gamble on the internet in this country.

The Current Legislation
It was estimated recently that close to half a million Dutch gamble on the internet each year. However, gambling online is still not legal in the Netherlands until a proposed law change goes through.

Most analysts expect that a new gaming bill will go through shortly to make the likes of online casinos and poker sites legal. It has been reported that more than 200 different gambling companies have expressed an interest in operating here once the new laws are introduced to make it legal.

Back in 2015, the regulator (Kansspelautoriteit) stated that the online gaming market has now grown to a total of €296 in annual income. This was a 7.6% growth over the previous year. Having said that, online gambling here represents only 13% of all gambling, which is lower than in most of Europe.

The Tax Situation
One of the most controversial issues around the Dutch online gaming market is that the proposed legislation will include a hefty 29% tax rate on the revenue earned by site operators. This is the same rate that is levied on land-based casino operators in the Netherland but critics suggest that it will be too high to encourage international operators to move into the Dutch market.

Originally, the tax rate was going to be 20% and international site operators had requested that this figure be lowered to 10%. However, partly due to pressure put on the Dutch government they raised the proposed online tax rate to match the 29% paid by land-based casinos instead.

The original thinking of the authorities appeared to be that the lower 20% rate was necessary so that Dutch registered sites would be competitive. The feeling is that this level of tax would still have allowed them to pay out good prizes, rather than having players seek out international sites with better pay-out rates instead. It now remains to be seen whether the 29% rate drives customers to illegal international sites.

As for personal taxation on gambling winnings, the law currently states that no taxes need to be paid when the prize is under €449 or when the player has paid more to enter than the prize amount. In cases where more than €449 is won, the player pays 29% on their winnings.

The Current Situation
While online gambling isn’t yet fully legal in the Netherlands, it is something that is currently tolerated to a degree, as can be seen by the number of Dutch residents who have played for money on the internet recently.

The authorities have attempted to stop their county’s residents from gambling online but it has proved impossible. At the time of writing there are around 450 sites that accept Dutch players. The government’s previous attempts to restrict access to gaming sites is probably one of the reasons why internet gambling is slightly less popular here than in other European countries, though.

The current view of the Dutch authorities appears to be one of letting people play on international sites for the time being. Technically, someone living in the Netherlands can only play legally on a Dutch registered site; it’s just that there aren’t any sites that are registered yet or that can be registered until the new law comes into force.

The authorities, therefore, tacitly allow internationally registered gaming sites to provide services for Dutch players currently, providing that they don’t actively target players from the Netherlands.

The Future
According to the new legislation could be brought into force during 2017, finally giving internet casino and poker operators the chance to legally register for a license here. This will then allow them to target Dutch players completely within the law.

Having said that, the new laws have been getting discussed for a couple of years now without as much progress as might have been hoped for.

For the moment, Dutch gamblers will need to show a little bit more patience before being able to gamble completely within the law. And maybe they will because of the high tax that will be brought into the online gambling sites. The future will proof.

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