Under the scrutinized eye of the casino world, the Dutch gambling market legally opened its doors on October 1, 2021. Just like many other jurisdictions, the Dutch turned a chaotic gray market into a strictly regulated one, moving away from international casinos and towards a localized offer.

Dutch market gets global interest

The global interest had two reasons: first, the Dutch license was the strictest thus far. Aside from the standard regulations, casinos hoping to offer their services in the Netherlands need to connect to CRUKS, a license-wide database where self-excluded players are registered.

No more excluding at one casino only to turn around and register at the next. Also, only game developers with a Dutch license are allowed to supply legal online casinos with a variety of games, such as online slot machines and online poker.

Dutch online blackjack games are increasing in popularity due to the high rewards and promotions in the available online casino’s Second, and perhaps more excitingly, the Dutch market was brimming with opportunity.

Although estimates varied widely, it was clear that Dutch players were happy spenders. After leaving the Dutch market, Unibet warned that it would lose € 144 million annually. All in all, Dutch players were estimated to bring an € 840 million profit for casinos in 2021 - about € 60% more than anticipated. Remember that most of that money was spent illegally.

Casinos couldn’t advertise, sponsor, or otherwise promote. Furthermore, traditional Dutch payment methods were banned, and the Dutch language was also forbidden.

Legalized market

With the legalized market, a few things are different. First, igaming enters a new era in the Netherlands where online betting is mainstream.

Second, the barriers for players have disappeared - no more language barriers, and depositing money in your player account is as easy as shopping for groceries.

Lastly, casinos can now advertise and promote their services.

Increased revenue

This has already led to increased profits, as we’ve mentioned in the introduction. Being able to play in a national environment has attracted more players. Another key factor in the quick growth is the extended offer for sports betting.

Popular betting options such as live betting and cash out options were not available before, but are now legal.

Sports betting

In general, it’s in sports betting that the Dutch market has seen the most growth. One of the most interesting findings on the Dutch market is that the number of casino players has relatively stayed the same.

In contrast to expectations, the number of casino players hasn’t dramatically increased after all the promotions and advertisement.

From a legislative perspective, the new license has nevertheless been very successful. Players have shifted from the illegal foreign casinos to the now legal domestic casinos. Where the number of online casino players has stayed the same, the number of sports bettors has increased significantly.

Overmore, players tend to spend more than they used to, as well. It seems then that marketing budgets are best spent on these sports bettors. A report by sportsbook software provider Altenar supports these initial findings.

In a report on the Dutch market, their numbers show an increase in betting revenue from $26 billion in 2019 to an impressive $36 billion in 2021. They don’t expect this trend to slow down either, and forecast a total revenue of $52 billion by 2026 - doubling the market in a timespan of seven years.

Future concerns

What might help in the growth of the sports betting industry in the Netherlands is how it’s avoiding the backlash after the market opened.

Like many other countries, politicians are alarmed at the flood of advertisements. In a counter effort, the government is petitioned from different sides to ban online casino advertisements.

It’s the underperforming online casinos that get the bulk of the bad press. Meanwhile, sportsbooks are sponsoring sports clubs, soccer leagues, and soccer stadiums, securing their presence in the country’s most popular sport for years to come.

Add to it a 2022 World Cup with a promising national team, a Dutch pro darter among the best in the world, Max Verstappen’s reign in the Formula 1, and Winter Olympics coming, and Dutch sports bettors have plenty to win ahead.