UnderDutch gambling laws, only the Holland Casino monopoly and its subsidiaries are legally permitted to host poker games, tournaments or any gambling event.
Since prostitution and drug use is tolerated in the Netherlands, police have little to do but watch American police reality shows and dream of the day when they too can have a morality law to enforce. And now they do. Under pressure from the Holland Casino monopoly, police departments were empowered with a new task: to win the war against family home poker games.
Even a Friday night home poker game among friends is likely to result in arrests and fines, as police have begun to vigorously enforce the gambling act. So far there have been no reports of arrests for gambling online in the Netherlands
Until recently, police in the Netherlands have tolerated traditional evening home poker games where the stakes are usually tiny and the rake is pooled to buy beer. That is no longer the case.
Dutch gambling law enforcement
Last Friday evening, Eindhoven police department received a report of a disturbance as the occupants of one unit in an apartment complex complained of neighbors who allegedly were ‘talking too loud’. When police officers arrived at the scene, they discovered a group of four elderly men playing poker inside one private apartment unit.
According to the police report, the neighbor who called the police was in the adjacent unit along with eight visitors “highly intoxicated by use of narcotics” and were in the process of “injecting and smoking” what officers describe as a “blend of heroin, methamphetamine, and hashish.”
Moral dilemmas of the morality police
Eindhoven police immediately detained the four elderly poker players on suspicion of illegal gambling. A thorough search of the apartment uncovered poker chips, playing cards and a specially designed table used for card games.
A small sum of money, a computer and a mobile phone was also seized during the two hour long investigation. The poker villains were formerly charged and released the next morning after a court appearance.
The occupants of the ‘crack house’ or rather the ‘crack housing unit’ who reported ‘the crime’ were thanked by the police for their vigilance and were not detained at any time.
Eindhoven police department spokesman warned – “We do not tolerate gambling events that are not licensed. Be aware that you are breaking the laws and we will be strict to enforce them.” A gambling framework is currently under review by the Dutch parliament, and by 2012 licenses for independent Dutch poker rooms as well as online casinos will be auctioned off to qualified companies.