The bells are ringing for the upcoming funeral of the oppressive Dutch gambling monopoly, which was widely viewed as blight upon the reputation of the otherwise liberal, free, and democratic Netherlands. History has repetitively proven that governments are incapable of competent business management. Only free competition in an unfettered market that’s governed by the laws of supply and demand creates a truly equal, level playing field for all parties involved as well as benefits the consumer.
The movement to rewrite Dutch gambling laws and open the traditional and online casino market in the Netherlands began with the formation of a balanced government backed by Mr. Geert Wilder’s PW (Freedom Party) along with CDA (Christian-Democrats) and VVD (Liberals). The coalition agreement between the three political parties contains a paragraph that demands the ‘Introduction of a fee for (or auction of) licenses for the exploitation of internet gambling and lotteries’ no later than 2012.
This week, The Netherlands Foundation for Online Gaming (STOIG) submitted an outline of the key points regarding the future gambling framework to Netherlands Secretary of Justice, Mr. Fred Teeven. STIOG is a coalition of European gambling industry insiders, and was specifically created to accelerate, assist and advise the Dutch government regarding licensing, tax issues, server locations, cross-border liquidity and ‘physical presence requirements’ for both traditional and online casino in Netherlands licenses.
Dutch lawmakers are in the process of finalizing a draft of the framework of the future Online Gaming Bill, and by late March 2011, the framework will be submitted to the House of Representatives. The exact details of the framework are as yet unknown, but sources speculate that a ‘limited number of licenses to be auctioned to domestic and foreign businesses which meet the requirements stipulated by the Act.’ Industry insiders believe that such language is anti-competitive and will cause more harm than good.
STOIG will firmly lobby against any language within the law that places a limit on the number of licenses granted to online casinos and Dutch poker rooms. The foundation believes that providing a handful of licenses to huge international casino operators will create an oligarchy, and stifle the idea of a free market casino industry within the Netherlands, as well as unintentionally harming consumers. STIOG supports the establishment of a Gaming Authority to control and monitor the industry.
Projected tax revenues generated from legalized online gambling in the Netherlands range from € 100 million to € 270 million during the first year.