In a move that could signal the changing opinion of online poker worldwide, a commission by the Dutch government is recommending changes to the country’s approach to regulation of the game. The move is being recommended in order to monitor the companies providing service and better protect Dutch players.
The commission, established by Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin, recommended that the government “give up its barely-enforced monopoly and license a small number of online poker companies.” Reflecting an approach that has been taken in France and Italy, such is a move is expected to allow Holland to monitor the online poker rooms that are providing service for the country’s citizens, while blocking unregulated sites.
Holland’s attitude toward poker has been evolving rapidly over the past few months, starting with a new legal opinion on the game. In July, a court in The Hague ruled that poker is predominantly a game of skill, and the organizer of a poker tournament cannot be prosecuted for violating gambling laws. The court also ruled that live poker tournaments can be held at venues besides those owned by Dutch casinos.
The Justice Minister’s commission is a response to the changes in judicial climate toward online poker. In addition, the move opens the possibility that the country could profit from licensing fees and increased tax revenue, bringing a new and much-needed funding source.
As countries like the United States, Switzerland, Spain, Greece and Germany all consider revising their laws concerning Internet poker, Holland may be helping to signal a change of attitude toward the game. The Dutch appear to be setting a new standard for the interpretation and its regulation of this popular sport.