Reform Vs Regulation in UK and Dutch Online Gambling Markets

—TechRound does not recommend or endorse any financial, investment or gambling practices or providers. all articles are purely informational—

The future of online gambling in the United Kingdom hangs in the balance, with both the Labour and Conservative parties outlining contrasting approaches in their recent manifestos. Meanwhile, the Netherlands offers a case study in successful market regulation, showcasing impressive growth alongside robust consumer protection.


The UK: Stalled Reform


The UK government’s proposed reforms focus on consumer protection, echoing proposals outlined in the 2023 white paper. Measures like affordability checks, a contentious point aimed at preventing excessive spending, are still under consultation, with the government’s role likely limited. However, the industry, represented by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has expressed its willingness to work collaboratively.

This suggests a potential for a measured approach that balances responsible gambling with industry growth.

While Labour vows to continue this reform process, the manifesto’s lack of detail leaves the timeline uncertain. This contrasts with the Conservative Party’s complete silence on gambling, raising concerns about the future of these reforms. The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, propose stricter regulations, including restrictions on gambling advertising. This aligns with concerns from campaigners who believe the white paper didn’t go far enough.

One key difference from the Dutch model is the UK’s continued focus on land-based gambling reforms, such as increasing casino slot machine limits. This highlights a more comprehensive approach encompassing the entire gambling ecosystem.


The Netherlands: A Flourishing Market


In stark contrast, the Netherlands legalised online gambling in 2021, ushering in a period of remarkable growth. The Dutch model prioritises channelisation, steering players towards licensed platforms. This approach has proven highly effective, with over 90% of players opting for legal sites. This success highlights the crucial role of regulated online casinos in promoting responsible gambling and fair play.

Take the online gambling company Play North for example. They operate in the well-regulated Dutch market and encourage responsible gaming with their mission to offer safer and more entertaining online gaming experiences for more people every day. The company is a shining example of how industry leaders can offer numerous responsible gaming tools to keep their customers safe while still allowing for fun.


More Licensed Operators and Player Choice


Since legalisation, the number of licensed operators has steadily increased, offering Dutch players a diverse range of safe and legal platforms. This “channelisation” approach has been highly effective, with over 90% of players choosing licensed sites. This not only protects consumers but also validates the Dutch model for responsible gambling.


Targeted Advertising and Responsible Gambling


The Netherlands further tightened its regulations in July 2023 with a ban on untargeted gambling advertisements. This has significantly reduced exposure to non-gamblers and vulnerable groups while minimising the impact on existing players.

The Dutch Gambling Commission plays a crucial role in promoting responsible gambling. Players have access to fair games with robust consumer protections, fostering trust and a healthy online gambling environment.


Market Growth and Player Trends


These factors have contributed to a thriving Dutch online gambling market. Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) has grown by a remarkable 28% in just two years, reaching €1.388 billion in 2024. The number of active accounts has also surpassed one million, indicating growing interest among Dutch adults.

Interestingly, young adults (18-23) are at the forefront of this trend, highlighting the need for specific protections. Here, the Dutch Gambling Commission’s focus on this age group seems to be working, as they tend to lose less compared to the overall player base.


The Dutch Model: A Beacon for the Future?


The Dutch approach to online gambling regulation offers valuable lessons for the UK and other countries. By prioritising player safety through licensing, responsible advertising practices and targeted consumer protection measures, the Netherlands has fostered a flourishing and sustainable market.

The success of the Dutch model suggests that a balance can be struck between market growth and responsible gambling. The UK, with its stalled reforms, could do well to learn from the Netherlands’ experience. By implementing similar regulations and prioritising player protection, the UK can ensure a safer and more sustainable online gambling environment for its citizens.

—TechRound does not recommend or endorse any financial, investment or gambling practices or providers. all articles are purely informational—