Windmills, Edam and Online Poker? The Netherlands is seen as one of the biggest markets and growing hotbeds for the online poker and iGaming industry. As tends to be the case with online poker, playing Texas holdem poker online is the most popular game but there’s more to it than that. Today we look at the factors and attributes owing to its surging popularity in the country.
In October 2021, the Dutch government dramatically eased its legislation on online gambling. The new laws known as the Remote Gambling Act wanted to establish a greater understanding and collaborative effort with gambling service operators while kicking out unregulated vendors. From this moment onwards, any company wanting to offer online gambling experiences in the Netherlands must obtain a license from the Kansspelautoriteit the local body responsible for gambling regulation.
These actions have generally meant that the populace is more trusting of vendors and is more likely to indulge as the pastime is now legalized. Furthermore, the majority of players who were spending money on illegal sites when it was still outlawed all switched to government-approved sites.
It’s worth remembering that online gambling while it took place in the Netherlands before 2021, was outlawed. The country might be known for its liberal and mostly unrestricted way of life (relaxed views on drugs, sex work, rave culture, etc.) compared to others, but online gambling is a new vice for the country.
Growth in Dutch Player Spend
Recent years have provided tangible numbers detailing the growth in popularity for Dutch gamblers. In the totality of the entire Dutch gambling market, the collective industry has reported a 60% surge in expected profits. It is estimated that the total revenue for the marketplace in 2026 could be $52 billion, or even exceed that figure.
The three biggest markets for online gambling are reported to be sports betting, casino games, and poker. While figures for the exact growth of online specifically are hazy, the sportsbook vendors have reported around $10m more in profits since the legislation change. Poker vendors will be expected to have a similar surge in funds.
As a whole, research suggests that Europe as a continent is perhaps the biggest regional market share and growth in the coming years, no doubt the Netherlands will play its part in this and benefit from the popularity increments.
Poker Variation in the Netherlands
When people talk or write about poker, the default thinking is that they are talking about the Texas Hold’em variation, as it is widely considered to be the most popular version, globally. The Netherlands is no different as it too recognizes Texas Hold’em as the primary poker game. The majority of online poker platforms in the Netherlands offer this game only operating others as a side attraction. This includes Pineapple, Omaha, and others, so if you want to take part then you’ll likely need to play texas holdem poker online, especially if you’re a newcomer as it’s one of the easiest to learn.
However, some more localized sites operated by Dutch companies may offer some traditional Dutch card games like ‘Jass games’ including, Klaverjassen (the national card game of the Netherlands), Boonaken, or Pando.
Not so Crowded Market
Consumers can often be spoiled for choice when it comes to online poker. In some countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, there seem to be more sites cropping up every day in the iGaming space offering both poker and casino games. The Netherlands doesn’t have that luxury.
Which might be a blessing in disguise. Rather than having an endless list of sites to compare sign-up bonuses or check out the competing companies’ offers and terms, as of December 2022, there were only four sites where Dutch players could play online poker. While other sites have cropped up since the market is still not very competitive compared to other global markets.
While the new legislation is generally seen as a good turn in the online poker scene in the Netherlands, it is apparently hard work to obtain a license. Whether the Dutch government is trying to restrict the number of gambling sites or simply ensuring that all companies act to an expected standard, there seem to be no shortcuts to entering the marketplace. Even big companies like UNIBET, Bet365, and PokerStars initially had problems setting up their business in the country.
GGPoker and PPPoker appear to be two of the biggest operators in the Netherlands as of summer 2023 as they have a lot of customers in the country. GGPoker was the first of the major foreign sites to obtain a new license to operate which has given it a lot of precedent in customer stature. This means that other sites essentially have to play catchup if they are going to attract customers away from GGPoker.