Yesterday, the upper house of the Dutch parliament voted against an online gambling trial of the country’s gambling monopolist Holland Casino – which is state-owned. 37 of the 75 members voted against the bill of minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin. It was a close call, since 35 members agreed with the minister. Ballin wanted to give Holland Casino permission to offer online gambling for three years, to see how it would develop. The plan was to reassess the gambling activities every year.
Dutch gamblers now often go to illegal gambling sites to fulfill their gambling needs. The minister wanted to lure this group of approximatively 40,000 people away from the dark side of the web to a state-controlled site. Makes sense in my opinion. I think it’s quite remarkable that in a country that is famous for its progressive and liberal laws, online gambling still stays unregulated.
Holland is not alone in its online gambling fear. Countries like Germany, France and Greece also remain reluctant to allow any kind of online gambling initiative. Reuters reports that their main concerns are addiction and a decrease in income from state betting monopolies. The European Union isn’t really fond of this attitude since it prevents competition. Therefore, the EU recently gave the Netherlands and Greece a final warning before court action over restrictions in their gaming markets.