At the request of the Dutch gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit, world famous online iGaming concern Bwin has pulled its operations out of the Netherlands for the time being. Bwin's management made the decision to pull out without a fight in order to avoid bad publicity and a straining of relationships with the government there.
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, a Bwin subsidiary, had been recently warned by the Kansspelautoriteit to immediately cease offering its online sports betting and gambling services to Dutch citizens. As one of as many as 20 online gambling sites currently operating (legally and otherwise) in Dutch communities, Bwin joins a larger group of online operators that have also been asked to close up shop.
In a move that seems to be centered around going after sites that have been offering sports gambling to Dutch residents, sites like Ladbrokes and Unibet, two other major online gambling companies, have also been warned that its services needed to be restricted from the Dutch gambling community. These actions could be deemed similar to what has been transpiring in neighboring Belgium. Both companies are, likewise, looking to leave the Dutch market without a fight.
Based on rumors out of the Dutch gambling community, pressure is being put on these sites because the gaming services they offer are considered illegal based on the country's current gambling laws. In Belgium, the process of eliminating sportsbook operators has been more of a witch hunt, which has created hostility between the Belgium government and online site operators. Using a different approach, some insiders claim the Dutch authorities offered these operators a way to leave peacefully in exchange for getting favorable treatment in the future when Dutch laws and guidelines have been revised to allow specific types of online gambling.
It is estimated that up to 500.0 million Euros combined are being wagered online on an annual basis throughout many parts of Europe. In The Netherlands, it would seem the government is taking a protectionist position in favor of its national casinos and gambling sites by shutting down operations coming out of other jurisdictions.
While there isn't any legislation on the books that specifically address online gambling by the country's residents, the Dutch government is taking the position that all online gambling is illegal because the country has not yet established a jurisdictional authority to oversee such operations. Translation: Until the government can figure out how to collect taxes on online gambling operations, everything has been forced to a halt. The government is also looking at restricting banking transactions between resident and online gaming operators.