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Lawmakers in the Netherlands’ House of Representatives passed a series of gambling-related motions yesterday (16 April), including a proposed ban on online slots.

The motions, which would still have to pass several additional hurdles before becoming law, would upend the regulated Dutch online gambling market just three years after its launch.

First reported by Casino Nieuws, Tuesday’s session saw lawmakers vote on 114 motions submitted during debates over previous weeks.

Motions included a call for crackdown on offshore casinos, a prohibition of “high-risk” games such as online slots, and a total online gambling advertising ban.

The country passed a ban on all forms of “untargeted” gambling advertising in July 2023, which involved blocking all television and print ads.

A ban on online slots, meanwhile, would upend the Netherlands’ market dynamics, where online casino currently accounts for 77% of the country’s total GGR according to the Dutch regulator’s latest Online Monitoring Report.

Representatives also improved motions calling for credit checks to combat addiction, a hand-over of the gambling brief to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the development of an anti-gambling framework comparable to the government’s tobacco strategy.

Despite being approved by a majority of representatives, motions must be approved by the relevant minister, as well as the Senate, to become law.

Minister to decide on motions

As such, minister of legal protection Franc Weerwind (pictured) will be asked to decide whether to permit the motions.

The minister previously advised MPs not to approve the motions, arguing that they should wait for more information to become available.

By the end of the year, the Ministry of Justice and Security will release an evaluation of the country’s Gambling Act that spawned the regulated market in 2021.

The Dutch industry responded extremely negatively to the news, with trade association NOGA arguing the ban would be a boon to the unlicensed market.

NOGA director Peter-Paul de Goeij said: “The House is trying to force a decision based on wrong figures, assumptions and unrealistic fears.”

“There is not enough hard data to make sensible decisions at the moment, which is why more research is being done.

“Let’s wait for those results and then have a substantive discussion and make decisions that will protect online players as best as possible against problem gambling and gambling addiction.”

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