Speculation that a fresh government in Holland would bring a more progressive approach to the legalisation of online gambling appears to have been confirmed. The Reuters news agency quoted Dutch government sources as saying that there had been a policy change, and that the new coalition government, which came to power last October, intends to issue licenses that will provide online gambling services to the Dutch player community which has been ignoring the old government's bans anyway.
The proposal represents a major policy overhaul for the Netherlands, which has defended an online gambling ban all the way to the European Union's highest court, the European Court of Justice, the Reuters report points out.
"It is a big shift, but this is a new government with a more liberal approach," Jaap Oosterveer, a spokesman for the Dutch ministry of public safety and justice told the news agency.
In a letter sent to the Dutch parliament on Saturday, Fredrik Teeven, state secretary of security and justice, wrote that hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens defied previous bans by gambling online, and a change in the law would allow more oversight.
Teeven gave several European countries such as France, Italy, Austria, Britain and Sweden as examples of European nations that have moved to a regulatory stance rather than a prohibitionary one, suggesting that the Netherlands should also be offering licenses for online games such as poker, bingo and sports betting.
The state secretary added that consumers should have an appropriate and attractive range of gambling options but that it was very important that there are safeguards against risks such as gambling addiction and fraud.
He wrote that the licensing system for lotteries in the Netherlands should become more transparent, while competition in the gaming industry, which is dominated by state monopoly casino operator Holland Casino, should also be explored.
The Dutch government expects the auctioning of Internet gambling and lottery licenses to generate at least 10 million Euros per year in tax revenues, starting from 2012, Teeven wrote.
Source: InfoPowa News