Dutch Politician to Push for Complete Online Gambling Ban

Posted on: October 16, 2023, 06:49h. 

Last updated on: October 16, 2023, 12:36h.

After the Netherlands launched legal online gambling in 2021, the segment helped the country make over $1 billion in gambling revenue in 2022. One politician doesn’t think that’s a good enough reason to keep the iGaming segment alive, however, and is now on a quest to ban online gambling.

Dutch parliamentarian Ann Kuik in a PR photo
Dutch parliamentarian Ann Kuik in a PR photo. She has launched an initiative to repeal legal online gambling in the Netherlands. (Image: Christian Democratic Appeal)

Ann Kuik, a member of the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, is drafting legislation that would overturn the law that legalized online gambling. She has the complete support of her party in the initiative, according to a message on its website.

The CDA wrote that it wants to regulate and tax gambling providers more heavily, although the timing of the bill is a little suspect. The House of Representatives elections will take place in a month and a half.

Turning Back Time

The CDA has repeatedly stated its position opposing gambling, which it asserts is fueling greater addiction in the country. It believes there’s only one solution – to roll back the Remote Gambling Act (Koa, for its Dutch acronym).

Reversing the law is necessary to protect Dutch consumers, according to Kuik. After two years of legalized online gambling in the Netherlands, she concludes that the promised better protection for players has not been achieved.

We are seeing a huge increase in gamblers, 21 percent of whom are also young adults. This law is a product of the prevailing neoliberal political wind, in which it is not the interest of protecting the vulnerable that comes first – but profit and the free market,” she asserts.

When the Netherlands launched online gambling in 2021, the law came with a caveat that required a review of the segment in 2024. Kuik, however, doesn’t want to wait a few more months for the review.

Kuik doesn’t specify how she plans on addressing offshore gambling, which will see a huge spike if the bill passes. Studies have already shown that it’s impossible to completely block online gambling sites, and problem gambling is more prevalent where a lack of regulations exists.

The argument that the Dutch economy is witnessing an increase in problem gambling doesn’t hold up against scrutiny, either. A report published on Research Gate shows that the Netherlands, at 0.6%, has one of the lowest problem gambling percentages in Europe. The only country with a lower rate is Germany at 0.4%.

Kuik Has a Long Way to Go

The House of Representatives website states that it receives an average of 12 private member’s bills, bills submitted individually by its members, each year. Members of Parliament can do this for various reasons, such as attempting to pressure the government to take action, or to draw attention to a subject.

As soon as the private member’s bill has been submitted, the House of Representatives must go to the Council of State to ask for advice and begin a feasibility study. During the discussion of the bill, members of the government are present to act as advisors to the House of Representatives.

The Senate will then also discuss the private member’s bill. If it adopts the measure, the bill must finally be signed by the King and the responsible minister. It’s not known when the CDA intends to submit Kuik’s bill. Drawing it up would take a lot of time, and the political party has bigger issues to worry about right now.