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Dutch Online Gaming Laws Come Under Scrutiny

European Court of Justice Issues Two Preliminary Rulings and European Gaming and Betting Association Confident State Monopoly Will Have to Go

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Dutch under pressure over online poker restrictionsThe European Gaming and Betting Association today said it was confident that restrictive Dutch laws on online gaming will soon be reformed.

Secretary General of the EGBA said, “We are confident that reform of the gambling laws will take place in the Netherlands, as they already do throughout the EU. Beyond the legal considerations, you also have to look at the reality of the market.

“There is a consumer demand for online gaming in the Netherlands, like there is all over Europe. Increasingly, EU Member States like Italy, Denmark and France realize that online gaming is a popular leisure activity and are opening their market to competition. EGBA urges the Dutch authorities to also start regulating the market.”

The pronouncement comes on the back of two preliminary rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) relating to pending cases against online betting operators Ladbrokes and Betfair.

The ECJ confirmed that under certain strict circumstances a monopoly can be allowed to promote its offer for the purpose of fraud prevention but if the Netherlands is “pursuing a policy of substantially expanding betting and gaming, by excessively inciting and encouraging consumers to participate in such activities (…) it would have to be concluded that such a policy does not limit betting and gaming activities in a consistent and systematic manner and is not, therefore, suitable for achieving the objective of curbing consumer addiction to such activities.”