Netherlands Warns Unlicensed Sites

The Netherlands is moving toward opening its state-controlled gambling industry to private competition. But until the regulated market is a reality, unlicensed operators have been warned to stay out.

With plans moving forward to open the Netherlands’ online gambling market to commercial competition, the Secretary of State for Justice Fred Teeven re-emphasized that the government still holds a complete monopoly on the industry, and there are no legal Internet gaming sites operating outside it.

Operators currently targeting the market illegally are unwelcome, he said, in response to questions in the parliament about the amount of online advertising directed at Dutch citizens in the run-up to the World Cup.

Teeven warned that such sites were “playing with fire” because they will be blocked from participating in the regulated market under “bad actor” legislation approved in 2011.

Last year, a Remote Gambling Act aimed at legalizing the sector was drawn up and passed by an initial vote of lawmakers in February. It is expected to be enacted into law later this year and come into force midway through next year.

Experts predict that a regulated Dutch market could bring in €200 million in gross gaming revenue in its first year.