The wind of change is blowing through the Dutch gaming industry. Yet while much attention has been focused on the recent passing of the country’s remote gaming bill and its soon-to-be-privatised casinos, key developments have already taken place in the Netherlands’ lottery sector, as a newly introduced licencing procedure paves the way for new market entrants.

The Netherlands was thrust under the industry spotlight throughout 2016, as the wheels were set in motion for large-scale changes across the country’s casino and remote gaming sectors.

On July 7, the Dutch Lower House passed a landmark bill to regulate online gaming in the country for the first time. The bill, which passed with a comfortable majority, followed several years of lobbying and research efforts, as various stakeholders fought to bring the Netherlands’ gaming legislation into the 21st century.

Elsewhere, discussions continued to focus on the country’s state-owned casino operator, Holland Casino. The group is due to be privatised before the end of this year, paving the way for new entrants in the land-based gambling sector. This privatisation is to be accompanied with new competition in the market, as Holland Casino will be forced to divest four of its current 14 casinos to bidders, while two additional land-based permits will become available.

As industry observers continue to trace the fast-moving developments in this country of 17 million people, Alan Littler, gaming lawyer at Amsterdam-based Kalff Katz & Franssen Attorneys at Law, was quick to note that the lottery sector is the forerunner of change to the Netherlands’ gambling industry, instead of the casino or remote gaming sectors, as previously expected.

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