Published on 4 February 2015 by Rhi
The online gaming market within Europe is a tricky one. The EU allows gambling and has it’s own set of rules and regulations that companies must follow, but it also gives individual countries the freedom to set some of their own rules too. Keen to protect their residents, many countries in Europe are regulated markets, meaning they have their own regulatory body and each online casino must be licensed by them in order to offer their services there.
At the moment, the Netherlands are not a regulated market, but they’re looking to open the market within the next year or two. All the talks are already in place and the regulations are being fine tuned and finalised, but until then casinos have to be very careful how to treat in this lucrative market to ensure they don’t upset the regulators and ruin their chances of ever gaining a license. Right now, Dutch players can play at online casinos that are not Dutch licensed, but the casinos cannot directly target these players.
- Online casinos must not have a .nl domain.
- Online casinos must not offer their website in Dutch,
- or have the Dutch flag anywhere on site.
- Online casinos cannot advertise their services in the Netherlands.
To me, these few rules sound pretty simple and easy to follow. The casinos can accept players from the Netherlands, with Dutch IP addresses, but cannot directly reach out to them. Once the market regulations open, the casinos can decide if the rules and regulations are doable and apply for the license then, and if approved, they’ll be able to really begin to target Dutch players and benefit from the 17th most valuable gaming market within the EU (with online casino being the 2nd most popular product with Dutch players!).
Not all casinos are finding the rules easy to follow though; we wrote recently about Comeon being fined €180,000 for continuing to advertise and have their website in Dutch. Being hit with this fine will no doubt affect their chances of being granted a license (if indeed they apply) once the regulations are final, so it’s very important that casinos tread carefully and wait and see what 2015 brings for the Netherlands.