Even when it comes to gambling, the Rolling Stones hold the hidden recipe for success.
When talking about the Netherlands, two things immediately come to mind: legal marijuana and prostitution. Clearly, the Dutch are known for being free spirits, but somehow the Government doesn’t have the same liberal attitude towards gambling.
Dutch gambling laws are very strict and the state runs a monopoly over the casino industry, through its sole licensed operator Holland Casino. The local authorities became famous for their hostile attitude vis à vis private casino businesses, after serving gambling operator Global Stars with a EUR 100,000 fine for daring to tempt local players with their fancy online services.
At the moment, every form of internet gambling is forbidden, but authorities have already announced changes to current laws, including adding 5-year licenses for online operators. It is estimated that the Dutch Government will legalize online gambling in the Netherlands by 2015.
With the right legal framework, the Netherlands could become a real rock star in the gambling industry. But first, it needs to learn a few things from some of the world’s greatest rock legends – The Rolling Stones:
1. Mixed Emotions… about the gambling industry – “You’re not the only one with mixed emotions, you’re not the only ship adrift on this ocean,” say the lyrics to the famous Rolling Stones song. The Dutch authorities are surely not the only ones with mixed emotions towards gambling, but they could follow the example of other European countries.
Legalizing online gambling has proved very profitable for certain European states, such as Malta or the UK. These countries prove that a good legal framework will allow authorities all the control they need over the gambling industry, while also providing an important source of income.
Europe’s biggest online gambling operators:
• William Hill
2. Love is Strong… and so is the love for gambling! So why not legalize it and reap the fruits of a liberal online casino market? Industry experts estimate that a regulated market in the state would be worth EUR 223 million by 2015. Local politicians have calculated that a tax rate of 29% would bring in annual revenue of EUR 31 million for the state.
3. Start Me Up – After establishing a clear set of rules for companies to follow, the next step towards success is adopting the new law as soon as possible, in order to get business going. The demand for Dutch online casinos is already there. Companies have already shown interest in bringing their operations to the Netherlands. Everything is set. All authorities have to do is… to start it up.
4. Street Fighting Man – Illegal gambling dens bring a lot of trouble, so the best thing is to tightly regulate the industry and keep everything under control. The only way to keep gamblers off the streets is to offer them a proper place where they can play casino games. The country already has several legal casinos, but they are all run by the state monopoly. A more liberal policy would make room for competition and better services.
5. Have some Sympathy for the Devil – Gambling is not the Devil. And neither is competition. What the Netherlands have to learn from this song is to embrace a liberal and competitive gambling market and try to make the best of it. The truth is that, in today’s world, you can’t really stop people from playing online casinos and many states have already experienced this. If you can’t beat them, join them.
6. Gimme Shelter… from illegal gambling – A set of clear regulations also offers authorities a better control over illegal activities. Operators have already been fined for catering to local gamblers without possessing a license to do so and it is the state’s duty to make sure that this does not happen. An efficient legislative framework establishes both rights and obligations.
7. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Dutch authorities might prefer a state monopoly to a liberal market, but they have to accept that they can’t always get what they want. The European Union has very clear policies on the subject and calls for a free market. Countries opting for monopolies have to prove that they are doing this to serve and protect the interest of their citizens.
These are just a few of the lessons that online gambling in the Netherlands could learn from the legendary band. We know it’s only rock and roll, but we like it!