Netherlands rejects online gambling bill

Netherlands government

The upper house of the Dutch parliament voted against a bill to allow Holland Casino to open a gambling Web site on a trial basis in the Netherlands.

Holland Casino has the monopoly on gambling in the Netherlands and would have been allowed a three-year contract to run an online gambling site if the bill was approved.

Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin wanted to give the state's gambling monopoly that right in an effort to head off foreign competition, according to a Dutch News article.

Some 400,000 Dutch nationals are thought to indulge in online gambling at international sites such as PartyPoker, Bwin and Sportingbet.

The lower house of the Dutch parliament approved the bill in 2006, but the upper house voted 35-37 to defeat the bill on Tuesday.

In February, the European Commission issued the Netherlands and Greece a final warning about their restrictions to the online gambling market. If they don't comply and open up their online gambling markets in accordance with European Union trade rules, they could face court action.

The EC has been working to get several nations to open up their online gambling markets. While Britain opened up its market with a new regulatory system that was put in place in 2007, Germany, France, Sweden and other nations have moved to further restrict online gambling and in some cases to protect their state-owned online gambling monopolies.

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