Study Says Over 1 million Gamble Illegally in Holland

20th November 2009 9:20 am GMT

Following an investigation to determine the nature and scope of illegal gambling in the Netherlands, a new study presented by Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin to the House of Representative this week, has estimated that over one million Dutch citizens participated in illegal games of chance in the twelve month period up until July 2009, nearly half of whom played illegal games online.

The study was carried out by Regioplan Policy Research on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, investigating five types of illegal games of chance including games of chance on the Internet, poker games (excluding online), computer terminals, bingo, and lottery and pools.

According to the study, nearly 10% of respondents had participated in one of more of the five studied illegal games of chance in the past twelve months up to July 2009. Of these, 5% participated in games of chance via the Internet, 3% had played bingo, 2% taken part in poker games , while only 1% participated in lottery and pools, and less than half a percent played on computer terminals in the past twelve months.

Taking the results as a generalisation of the total Dutch population, the study estimates that more than one million Dutch citizens, between the ages of 15 and 65 years old, have participated in one of the five illegal games of chance in the past twelve months, with nearly 50% playing games online.

According to the study, online gambling has stabilised following the rapid growth experienced between 2000 and 2003, with online poker now accounting for approximately 66% of the respondents.

Players staked an average of between €12 - €13 on online games of chance and physical poker games and bingo, with lottery and pools spend per game at €8.90 and computer terminals at over €20.

As a generalised total for the whole country, this equates to over €240 million staked on illegal games of chance over the past year, with over €180 million staked online. Of this, it is estimated that over €86 million is kept by illegal gambling providers.

Bingo is the only game where female players outnumber male players, while the average age of all players of illegal games of chance is 41 years old.

The study suggest that the Dutch government's attention should focus on online gambling since it yields the highest game proceeds, the highest number of participants, as well as frequency of play. Earlier this year the Dutch government established an advisory committee to investigate how best to regulate online gaming in the country in the context of European law (more).

The study was carried out by means of a secondary analysis of existing registrations, an online questionnaire among 17,000 Dutch citizens, and telephone interviews with a further 3,999 Dutch citizens between the ages of 15 and 65 years old.

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