Following the decision of the Dutch Government to make online gambling legal in 2021, the new market segment brought gambling revenue of more than $1 billion to the country in 2022.
However, there are still politicians who do not believe that was a reason good enough for local lawmakers to keep the online gambling segment alive, so they are now calling for the Government to suspend online gambling once again.
Ann Kuik, a member of the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, has proposed a piece of legislation that seeks to overturn the law that officially made digital gambling legal. For now, her party fully supports her legislative initiative, as a message on its website states. The country’s CDA is willing to see local lawmakers come up with more stringent regulations and taxes for gambling providers, although the timing of the bill has already raised some questions.
The House of Representatives elections are set to take place in about a month and a half.
Ms. Kuik shared that the liberalized law was a product of the prevailing neoliberal political wind but it was not protecting the interests of vulnerable customers in the country.
On multiple occasions throughout the years, the Christian Democratic Appeal party has stated its position against gambling. According to its members, gambling is fueling bigger rates of addiction in the Netherlands, so the party has proposed to roll back the KOA – or the Remote Gambling Act – in place, bringing a new life to the formerly existing online gambling ban.
According to Ms. Kuik, reversing the law is needed to protect the best interests of Dutch customers. She noted that better protection for gamblers, which was promised at the time when the online gambling ban was eliminated, has not been achieved after two years of legal digital gambling services. On the contrary – the CDA party member noted there was a significant increase in the number of gambling participation rates in the Netherlands, with 21% of the gamblers being young adults.
The Netherlands Currently One of the European Countries with the Lowest Problem Gambling Rates
At the time when the Netherlands officially launched online gambling as part of its legal gambling market in 2021, the implementation of the new piece of legislation was accompanied by a special condition under which the segment had to be reviewed in 2024. Some politicians, such as Ms. Kuik, however, are unwilling to wait even a few more months for the review to take place.
So far, the Christian Democratic Appeal party member has not specified how she plans on addressing offshore gambling and issues associated with it, as a massive increase in the practice is expected in case the proposed piece of legislation gets the green light. Studies have already shown that it is simply impossible to fully block online gambling platforms, and problem gambling rates are more prevalent where there is no regulation of the practice.
The argument that there was a surge in problem gambling rates in the country’s economy does not really hold up against further scrutiny. According to a report published on Research Gate, the Netherlands currently has one of the lowest gambling addiction rates in Europe, with 0.6%. The only country that has a lower problem gambling rate (0.4%) is Germany.
The website of the Dutch House of Representatives states that an average of 12 private member’s bills (pieces of legislation that have been individually submitted by its members) are usually received on an annual basis.
As soon as a Member of Parliament submits a draft bill, the House of Representatives is required to go to the Council of State to ask for advice and start a viability study. Members of the Government are usually present as advisors to the House of Representatives during the discussions of the proposed bill. Then, the draft piece of legislation is also discussed by the Senate. If the measure is eventually adopted, it must finally be signed by the King and the minister who is responsible for the sector.
For the time being, it remains unknown when the Christian Democratic Appeal party intends to submit Ms. Kuik’s bill.