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Online Gambling Legal in The Netherlands After All?

29 May 2011 by Devon Chappell

So, apparently online gambling in The Netherlands was never legal. Judging by the amount of betting activity generated by the Dutch, you would have probably never known this. But as is the case in non-regulated markets like the United States, where there is demand to gamble online, there is supply.

And that’s what the Dutch government has finally gotten wind of.  More precisely, the Dutch government has finally come around to the idea of liberalizing it’s gambling laws to allow foreign betting operators to do business with Dutch citizens. In effect, online gambling hasn’t been illegal in The Netherlands – just online gambling at betting sites not operated by the Dutch government monopoly, Holland Casino.

In many ways, the recent approval by the new coalition Dutch government to permit the issuance of gaming licenses to offshore companies is vindication for the European powerhouses, Betfair and Landbrokes, both of whom opened a case against the Dutch government with the European Court of Justice. Needless to say, that case lost, and Dutch citizens have since had far fewer options to “legally” play their favorite online casino games.

Another thing to confuse the masses regarding iGaming regulations in The Netherlands is the fact that online gambling has long been legal in Curacao (popular with U.S. friendly online casinos and home to Vegas Technology Software), which is one of the Netherlands, Antilles islands – an autonomous country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Curacao is often mistakenly cited as being governed by The Netherlands, which it is not.

Besides, now that Vegas Technology is dropping out the U.S. market (current players will apparently still be eligible to play), the topic of regulation in The Netherlands has become much clearer. Say goodbye to United States online gambling revenues and hello to the burgeoning European iGaming market. Say hello to Dutch online gamblers.

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