Gambling in the Netherlands has been a heavily monopolized sector. But now the environment is changing as the government is opening doors to foreign operators. It is ironical that a country that has been associated with relaxed laws, especially with regards to drugs and prostitution, has had a tightly controlled gambling industry. Since the mid-1970s, the government has exercised monopolistic control through Holland Casino. The company opened its first casino in Zandvoort before expanding to open 14 brick-and-motor branches in various parts of the country. The main games that Dutch players were allowed to play in these casinos were mainly blackjack, poker, and roulette.
The online gambling market has not been spared either. Initially, the government made an attempt at blocking online Dutch players by blacklisting several foreign-based websites to the point of asking banks to stop processing transactions related to gambling. However, all these efforts backfired. So, with the realization that the Dutch players and foreign operators were ignoring the law, the government through Netherlands Gaming Authority published as draft legislation in 2013 that introduced less restrictive laws. In 2015, the government started issuing licenses to foreign gambling companies. This was seen as the beginning of the end of monopolistic control in the gambling sector.
The government set tight rules that potential online gambling operators have to meet before being granted a license. The main aim was to ensure that the operators offer great services to the Dutch players. For the operators who meet the conditions, the government promised to grant half-a-decade licenses. In addition to this, it promised to reduce the tax rate on profits generated from gambling from 29% to 20%. With the new setup, everyone is a winner. Players will play with confidence that they are doing so legally while the government also increases revenue collection from the many operators entering the market.