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Council of State stays lower court ruling on Dutch land-based monopolies ...and more!

Janshen-Hanhnraths Group announces restructuring

Janshen-Hanhnraths Group (JHG), owner of the Fair Play Casino brand, has announced a restructuring of the organization due to lagging results and increased costs.

In its statement, JHG cites stricter regulations, the recent increase in the gambling tax rate, increased (wage) costs, and the impact of Covid-19-related closures as reasons for its decision.

An expected 106 jobs (out of c. 600) will be eliminated, mostly at corporate headquarters.

Earlier this year, outgoing CEO Jan Schiffelers warned in an open letter that increased regulatory and tax costs threaten the entire land-based arcade sector in Netherlands.

Holland Casino reports higher revenues, increased costs

Holland Casino's 2023 revenues increased to €817.7m, up from €753.8m in the previous year. The state-owned casino operator also reported 5.1m visits, a significant increase from the 4.1m visits in 2022.

Holland Casino Online's revenues, however, saw a significant decrease: from €145.5m (2022) to €116.0m (2023).

Holland Casino CFO, Ruud Bergervoet further stated the operator's future profitability is being threatened by increased costs “that cannot be simply passed on to our customers.”

Another notable cause for concern is that the average age of Holland Casino's visitors is increasing.

Lower House to hold plenary debate on player claims

Following last week's news that the Overijssel District Court ordered two operators (bwin and PokerStars) to repay player losses – due to having offered online games of chance without a license in the country – the Dutch Lower House has now scheduled (at a yet unknown date) a plenary debate on this matter.

The debate was requested by MP Nicolien van Vroonhoven, who represents a group (NSC) that is in favor of reversing the legalization of online gambling in the country.

This debate is a likely harbinger of coordinated political action against online operators that were previously active in the country without a license.

Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair calls for more player protection at land-based venues

In his speech at Tuesday's Casino Operations Summit, Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair, René Jansen has called on land-based slots operators to do more to protect players.

Permitted gaming machines in the Dutch land-based slots sector are all rated for a limited average hourly loss to prevent excessive spending. Nonetheless, Jansen observed that parallel play on more than one gaming machine simultaneously was permitted in all slots arcades that were recently visited by the regulator – thus undermining the legislator's clear intention.

Jansen, however, also detailed the regulator's increased efforts to go after illegal land-based offerings.

Upcoming events

The following event(s) may be of interest to the GiH community.

  • The 2024 Gaming in Spain Conference returns to Madrid on May 6, 2024.

  • Dutch game supplier Eurocoin Gaming will hold open house on May 15-16 in Waalwijk. Trade association VAN Kansspelen will hold its spring General Members’ Meeting on May 16 at the same location.

  • The 2024 Gaming in Holland Conference, which is scheduled for June 6, 2024, will feature Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair, René Jansen and Kindred CEO, Nils Andén as conference keynote speakers.

  • The trade show iGB L!ve returns to Amsterdam from July 16-19.

  • The 14th European Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues, organized by the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG), will be held September 10-13, 2024, in Rome, Italy.

  • The 2024 Gaming in Germany Conference returns to Berlin on November 5, 2024. Save the date!

Council of State stays lower court ruling on Dutch land-based monopolies

In March, the East Brabant District Court ruled that the adoption of the Remote Gambling Act has called into question the legal justification for regulating land-based sports betting, instant lottery, and lotto games as monopolies.

Specifically, the court found, for instance, that a single license system for land-based sports betting is no longer consistent with an open licensing system for online sports betting.

As a result, the court ordered the Netherlands Gambling Authority to reconsider its prior rejection of the license applications for these games by Dutch operator JVH gaming & entertainment group.

Because of the potentially far-reaching consequences of the court's ruling, the Netherlands Gambling Authority decided to lodge an appeal with the Netherlands’ highest administrative court, the Council of State.

Furthermore, the Council of State stayed the decision of the East Brabant District Court, as it considers the Gambling Authority's appeal.

It is presently unknown when the Council of State will decide on the appeal. It is expected that this will take – at an absolute minimum – several months.

Other news

CasinoNieuws has published a wide-ranging interview with outgoing Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair, René Jansen.

Kindred reports “solid growth” in Q1 2024, primarily driven by the Netherlands, the UK, and Romania.

Meanwhile, FDJ CFO Pascal Chaffard said that the planned acquisition of Kindred by the French gambling giant would not be affected by the possibility of adverse regulatory developments in the Dutch market.

Bulgarian legislators have proposed a bill that would ban almost all forms of gambling advertising in the country.

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has reported a total of 56 suspicious betting incidents to the relevant authorities in the first quarter of 2024.


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