The bill which should legalize online gambling has not yet been discussed in the House of Representatives, but gaming companies are already in the starting blocks. Despite complaining about, in the opinion of the bookmakers, excessive gambling tax. “Several gambling brands have taken on freelancers or agencies that must prepare the companies for the application procedure for a Dutch license”, says sports marketer Bart Cordemeijer of the Amsterdam agency BD Sport Europe.

Dutch gambling companies are also hiring specialists. In this way the Postcodeloterij (Postcode lottery) used a head hunter to search for a suitable boss for their online branch, who has to compete with foreign parties. The lottery lured a Swede away from the Scandinavian bookmaker Betsson. Furthermore, foreign betting shops are looking around the Netherlands for interesting sponsorship opportunities. Cordemeijer: “Football clubs and gambling companies have been talking about sponsorship for a while. We ourselves also represent two gambling brands for which we are in discussion with eight football clubs about sponsorship.” Cordemeijer cannot say which gambling brands and clubs it concerns.

The fact that many Dutch football clubs are suddenly offering Wi-Fi in their stadiums cannot be dissociated with the opening of the Dutch gambling market, according Cordemeijer. “Everyone wants to be able to offer mobile sports betting. Unibet is already testing such technology at the Scottish club Celtic.”

Based on the bill the first companies are now writing a business plan, says Willem van Oort, organizer of The gambling Conference Gaming in Holland and consultant in the gaming market. “They now know for example that the government wants to levy 20% gaming tax. They are also looking for potential partners, such as sports clubs and media companies. They are wondering how and with whom they are going to storm the Netherlands.” The government wants to legalise Internet gambling by the 1st of January, 2015 but virtually no one in the industry believes that this date will be reached. The bill must still be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Van Oort, “We all know that it will take a bit longer. However, all the gambling brands will be making decisions between now and Christmas.”