Holland Gambling Bill SetbackPublished April 2, 2008 by OCR Editor
The upper house of parliament rejected the bill that would advance online gambling towards a regulated and open market.
Against earlier signs that Holland will pass an online gambling bill that will regulate the industry in the country, the Dutch parliament has rejected the idea on Tuesday. The bill was defeated by a narrow vote, 35-37.
The bill was approved by the lower house of parliament in 2006. It is the upper house that rejected it this time around.
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It was to grant Holland's gambling monopoly, Holland Casino, a three-year trial-period contract to operate a monopoly gambling website. That would have helped protect Dutch gamblers, estimated at about 400,000, and compete with international companies operating gambling sites, such as PartyGaming, Bwin and Sportingbet.
The Dutch, it seems, will have to wait a while longer before they see a state-owned Internet gambling website.
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With lacking regulations and no bill to control the online gambling industry in the country, the fear of unfair competition, corrupt websites, and potential growth in gambling addiction is shared by all, Holland Casino included.
Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin saw the bill rejected by Holland's upper house of parliament, and his effort to protect Dutch players and compete with countries outside the Netherlands has been rejected.
The European Commission has recently warned Holland for its gambling laws. Along with Greece, it was given a final warning in February by the EU before action would be taken against it for stifling competition.
This is not to say that Europe is at all unified in how it handles opening up to the gambling industry online, with the UK opening up in a liberal, governed fashion, and Germany and France still wishing to protect their state monopolies.