Netherlands Supreme Court Rules Online Gambling Ban Justified

Published on Feb 28th, 2012

To all of you Dutch readers who have been hoping that your country would officially legalize and regulate online poker - keep hoping. The Netherlands Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a nationwide ban of online gambling "is not contrary to European law on free movement of services." Not only will online poker remain illegal, but also additional steps will be taken to block online gaming providers from offering their services to the Dutch.

The government-run Lotto is the only entity that is legally authorized to organize gambling games, including poker, sports betting, and instant lotteries. Nevertheless, online gaming firms such as Ladbrokes and Betfair have offered internet gaming to residents of the Netherlands for years.

Ladbrokes, for its part, has been fighting the Dutch government on the issue, claiming that the country's stance was in violation of European law. In a June 2008 interim judgment, the Supreme Court essentially called a "time out" in order to consult with the European Union's Court of Justice about the free movement of services.

Two years later, the Court of Justice finally answered those questions, saying that the Netherlands' government could ban online gaming if Dutch courts agree that the goal of such a ban is to stop gambling and reduce crime. Of course, the Dutch government now says that those were its goals all along and it is therefore in its rights to prevent its citizens from playing poker on the internet.

The process of implementing the ban is an entirely different matter. The ruling does not require the country's internet service providers to block online gaming sites from streaming their services into Dutch homes. On the contrary, the gambling providers are the ones who must block the people of the Netherlands from getting on their sites.

This is just the latest chapter in the soap opera that is online gambling law in the Netherlands. Last April, Dutch banks were asked to start blocking financial transactions to online gambling sites. They were provided a "blacklist" of gambling sites, but the transaction blocking was voluntary.

This, interestingly, came one month following an announcement by the Dutch government that it was going to open up its market and regulate online gambling. The decision was partially a response to an August 2010 recommendation to do so by a commission set up by Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin.

The commission said in part that the government should "give up its barely-enforced monopoly and license a small number of online poker companies." The regulations were supposed to take effect this year, and while nothing has been officially ruled out, the situation doesn't look nearly as promising as it used to for Dutch poker players.

The Netherlands currently sits at #18 in the PocketFives Country Rankings, which is sorted according to the cumulative PLB score of the top 20 players in each nation. There are currently 775 registered PocketFivers from the Netherlands, and Joris Jorizz Ruys (pictured) leading the pack as the 66th ranked player on the PocketFives Rankings.

The country's largest online tournament cash is by supa4real, who banked $340,025 for a runner-up finish in FTOPS Event #22 back in November 2009. The Netherlands (55,544 PLB score for its top 20 players) is sandwiched in between Austria (56,499) and Sweden (54,466) in the Country Rankings.

Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest global poker news.


  1. But feel free to keep blazing the chronic and boning prostitutes...

  2. Very dissapointing that the ECJ are deferring to governments so much on the issue- the concept of free movement of goods and services was integral to the whole EU idea.... now all the members just trying to cannibalize the gambling market for themselves

  3. We're so backwards in terms of what is deemed a legal/political priority and what is glazed over. Gov't officials are accepting bribes in the form of political backing...pushing out initiatives for some of the world's wealthiest and most greedy/narrow-minded parties or individuals..yet a true game of skill and strategy is being smeared with diarrhea over and over again. Thank god for all the good beer/wine and whiskey to get us through this bullshit...I love how nothing is logical

  4. They felt the need to prove to be a mickey mouse government once more (sorry Mickey). Dutch sites say it's not a big deal and we should not be afraid yet though. I prefer to stay moderately optimistic for now (has any english mtt-house got a room for rent?)

  5. America has been "persuading" the Dutch to vote their way since we saved their ass in the last 2 World Wars. The Dutch appreciate us while the French resent us for the same reason. What a world.

  6. just blaaaaaaze

  7. well keep smoking up!

    Originally Posted by Gameslut View Post

    America has been "persuading" the Dutch to vote their way since we saved their ass in the last 2 World Wars. The Dutch appreciate us while the French resent us for the same reason. What a world.

    it was Canadian troops that saved their ass in ww2 :)

    Originally Posted by CaribbeanKid View Post

    it was Canadian troops that saved their ass in ww2 :)

    no sir .... the English ;)

    Originally Posted by Wickedd View Post

    no sir .... the English ;)

    yes sir, let me assist u with your historical knowledge

    or even better ask any old timer from Holland who saved their ass :)

    they call Liberation Day Canada Day

    Originally Posted by CaribbeanKid View Post

    they call Liberation Day Canada Day

    Lol no we don't

    Originally Posted by ThaSquirrel View Post

    Lol no we don't

    I said old timers and u dont look a day over 20 :)

    Not sure why that link doesn't work but let me just paste the first couple sentences from wiki...

    In the Netherlands, Liberation Day (Dutch: Bevrijdingsdag) is celebrated each year on May 5th, to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II.

    The nation was liberated largely by Canadian troops, with the assistance of the British and American Armies

    Edited By: CaribbeanKid Mar 2nd, 2012 at 02:07 AM
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