The Netherlands is a country which is currently changing in how it regulates and runs online gambling operators. For periods of the last few decades, gambling at online casinos has been legal via state-sponsored monopolies, and at times, illegal, too. Understandably, this means that many Dutch players have not had a clue as to what was above board and what was not. Fortunately, the Dutch Government has now put together a series of bills and laws which will now set the record straight. These will not practically come into force until 2021 (in theory), but we already have an idea of what to expect. If you do not, you need not worry. By the time you have finished reading this article, you will be well versed on what the new Dutch gambling laws are, and what the best Dutch online casinos can offer you as a player.
An Overview of Gambling in the Netherlands
For long periods of its history, the gambling laws of the Netherlands were determined by the Betting and Gaming Act of 1964, also known as the Wet op de Kannspelen. This law made sure that virtually all forms of land-based gambling were legal in the European country. Naturally, this has been amended several times in the decades since. However, it never really gave a clear picture of what was legal when it came to online gambling.
Until very recently, the state-sponsored monopoly Holland Casino was the only operator permitted to offer online casino gaming services. However, the adoption of a new online gambling law (the Remote Gambling Act) in 2019, now effectively dismantles that monopoly. Instead, operators will be permitted to service players in the Netherlands with online casino games under a strict set of regulations.
The Kannspelautoriteit (KSA) will still maintain control over which online operators will receive Dutch internet gambling licenses, and they will still control licenses issued to land-based operations, too. The awarding of licenses to offshore operators will be done via strict criteria.
For instance, if an offshore operator wishes to offer players in the Netherlands will casino games, they must prove to the KSA that they have not done so illegally for a period of thirty months. In practice, once the new Dutch laws come into effect (in January 2021), they must refrain from accepting Dutch players for two and a half years. Any operator which does this, and can prove it, will be eligible to obtain a license from the KSA to offer services to players in the Netherlands, subject to the usual fees and conditions.
Thus far, the KSA believes that approximately 180 operators have expressed an interest in this scheme. More moderate (and dare we say, realistic data) points to there being roughly 70 licenses handed out, of which only 40 will be from international operators. The licenses issued by the KSA are expected to be valid for 5 years and will cover casino, poker, and sports betting operations. Online lotteries are not thought to be able to claim licenses. Operators will also have to prove that they have some form of establishment in the European Union or European Economic Area. They will not have to be based in the Netherlands.
Other strict rules are set to come into effect from the Kannspelautoriteit, too. These are set to govern how advertising for online gambling businesses is handled, and there will be strict punishments for operators who break the rules. Further restrictions will prevent operators from offering punters “free money” or bonuses which come with exhaustive rules, such as wagering requirements. While all this legislation seems to have passed and is set to be implemented in 2021, it remains to be seen how much of it will finally become law in the Netherlands.
About Dutch Offshore Casinos
Of course, this legislation which will radically alter and legalise online casino gaming in the Netherlands is not set to appear until 2021. It was initially supposed to happen in July 2020, but that has been pushed back by six months. For the time being, then, the same old rules apply.
This means that until January next year, Dutch players can opt to play at state-sponsored monopoly sites run by Holland Casino, or they can visit offshore casinos. In theory, offshore casinos are illegal in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities actively request that ISPs (internet service providers) hunt down and blacklist offshore casinos. However, many of these foreign sites are still accessible via VPNs (virtual private networks).
It is worth noting that any offshore casinos which are catering to Dutch players may wish to cease doing so immediately. The longer that these foreign sites continue to illegally accept players from the Netherlands, the longer they will have to wait to obtain a Dutch gambling license from the KSA. It is also worth saying that many of these offshore operators have already ceased catering to Dutch players, to both speed up that process and put themselves in good state with the Kannspelautoriteit ahead of the new law changes.
However, some smaller operators are not going to go ahead with the KSA’s plans and apply for licenses. These offshore casinos will continue to cater to Dutch players, irrespective of the new laws. These sites remain open for business for any Dutch players who wish to use them. Moreover, the Netherlands does not punish its citizens or residents for visiting offshore casino domains.
The Netherland’s Most Played Casino Games
Players in the Netherlands typically like to play the same sorts of games you can find in casinos in other countries, especially inside the European Union. The Dutch love to wager on sports, and are avid fans of casino games, despite the stricter laws which are currently in place. It is their love of gambling, EU pressure, and certain financial gains which have convinced the Dutch authorities to amend their gambling laws, and effective legalise online gambling.
So, what do the Dutch like to play? Below, you will find a collection of the most popular games which are played regularly throughout the European country. They include:
Slots: Slot machines are popular in the Netherlands, and until recently, some of the most famous software providers came from there. The fall of Sheriff Gaming did not seem to stop the Dutch liking slots, though, and today, they regularly play 3-reel classic slots, 5-reel video slots, and jackpot slot games, often illegally.
Table Games: The Dutch also like to spend their euros on table games. Even before the new law changes, there were no specific laws which dealt with table games. Despite that, it was illegal for Dutch players to visit poker rooms. It is thought that as much as 20% of all gambling wagers in the Netherlands are staked on table games such as blackjack, baccarat, and roulette.
Table Poker: As mentioned, while there were no specific laws banning poker, many poker rooms were blocked by internet service providers. However, when the new law comes into place next year, poker rooms are set to be amongst the types of online gambling sites which will be legalised. Poker is popular in the Netherlands, where Texas Hold’em seems to be the most played game.
Fantasy and e-Sports: Like many European countries, there are no laws one way or the other for fantasy sports. It is thought that fantasy sports betting will become legal in 2021, alongside sports betting. However, this has not been specifically mentioned. The status of e-sports betting remains to be seen, too. There are issues surrounding loot boxes in games which could cause problems in this regard.
Lottery Games: The Dutch national lottery (Nederlandse Loterij) and De Lotto are legal to play online in the Netherlands. The Euro Jackpot lotto and Miljoenenspel are also legal. However, offshore lotteries are not currently legal, and there is reason to believe that they will remain illegal once the new laws come into place.
Bingo Games: Bingo is surprising popular in the Netherlands. Some games can be found in monopolised online casinos in the country, although there is no specific law dealing with bingo. Instead, it is often considered a casino game of chance. However, the updated Dutch gambling laws for next year will make online bingo games legal at both casinos and via dedicated bingo rooms.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is legal in the Netherlands, but like all other forms of online betting, it is only legal via the state monopoly. However, this will undoubtedly change next year. A handful of Dutch businesses are already setting up shop to challenge the state monopoly, and you can rest assured that major international bookies will also be eager to break into this soon-to-be-legal market.
Taxes on Big Wins at Dutch Casinos
Unfortunately, the Netherlands suffers from one of the highest gambling taxes for players. However, this is only the case if you win more than €454. Winnings worth less than that are tax-free. If you should win more than €454, you can expect a high tax rate of 29% thanks to the gambling tax, which is known as Kansspelbelastning. Any winnings you get from Dutch lotteries are withheld until they pay your tax, so you will never win the amount advertised as the jackpot.
While the Dutch authorities have made gambling at offshore casinos illegal, players who do so will still need to fill out a gambling tax return if they win at a foreign site. There are no punishments for playing at foreign casinos, but the Dutch authorities still want their cut of your success.
It is not clear what the gambling tax laws will be once the Netherlands adopts its new laws, and the industry moves into one which is legalised and regulated.
The Best Dutch Online Casinos to Join Today
Dutch players are naturally going to be in two minds about which casinos to play at, as the gambling laws in the country are set to change. With that in mind, it can be hard to determine which online casino is most ideal for their needs.
When choosing an online casino to play at, it may be worth considering the long-term viability and legality of offshore casinos. There are other things which are worth looking at, too, and we have tried to cover most of the basics here in this section.
Long-Term Viability: It is worth considering the long-term viability of any online casino you are considering joining. Remember that online casinos which accept Dutch players today are not going to qualify for a KSA-approved license next year, or at all until they pass thirty months outside of the Dutch market. If you find a casino you like, then you will still be able to play there after January 2021 with a VPN. However, it will not be legal. In the meantime, you might consider playing at Holland Casinos owned domains, even if they are state-sponsored sites.
Dutch Conveniences: Any top casino you choose to play at should offer the Dutch language and the euro currency to their players. Moreover, they should also provide customer support in Dutch. Ideally, those support options will come via FAQs, live chat, and other options.
KSA Licensed: While it is not yet possible to play at offshore KSA-licensed casinos (and it will not be until January 2021), these are inevitably the casinos you are going to want t play at in the future. For now, the closest thing to legal Dutch online casinos are those run by Holland Casinos. They will remain so after the new laws come into place. In the meantime, any casino you do play at should at least be licensed out of a reputable jurisdiction, to ensure safety.
Dutch Payment Methods: Dutch players will want to use popular payment methods which make it easy to deposit and withdraw. A decent Dutch casino will accept all major credit card, e-wallet, and prepaid voucher methods. Some remote sites may also accept cryptocurrencies. Whatever options your chosen site has, make sure that they do not charge hefty withdrawal fees and have flexible withdrawal limits.
Live Casino and Mobile Gameplay: In 2021, mobile and live dealer casino gameplay are all the rage and widespread across the world. The best Dutch online casinos should provide you with both options, even if you are not interested in trying them right now.
A Variety of Games Under One Roof: As mentioned earlier, Dutch players love to dabble in different types of gambling games. Top casinos in the Netherlands should offer you access to sports betting, as well as poker gameplay, if not bingo games, too. The more games you have at your disposal (from a broader range of software providers), the more likely you are to find something you want to play.
Recommended Domains: Of course, if you are not sure what the status of a casino will be after January 2021, you can always check out the list of recommended domains on this page. We will keep our list updated with Dutch casinos which fit the bill as the law changes occur. This is arguably the easiest way to ensure that you are playing at one of the best online casinos in the Netherlands.
For the time being, it does not really matter whether you wish to play at an offshore site or not. However, you may end up registering at an online casino, only to see your account closed next year if the website in question decides that it wants to walk the straight and narrow path to obtain a KSA license. Bear this in mind when you choose to play at online casinos in the Netherlands right now.