The rise of online casinos and economic development in the Netherlands
Historically, one of the primary reasons why countries have legalized casinos is to help the economy, and, without a doubt, the examples set by cities like Atlanta and Las Vegas show that gambling can revitalize entire regions. Globally, the casino market generates impressive amounts, and it is estimated that, by 2025, it will be worth $97.69 billion. The rise of online casinos and technologies such as AI has greatly facilitated the gambling industry and created lucrative opportunities that operators have been quick to capitalize on.
In this context, more and more countries have taken a friendlier or more flexible stance on gambling. One of the latest countries to do so is the Netherlands, which has recently adopted a Remote Gambling Act legalizing online casinos. The new legislation was met with enthusiasm, but not only by players who played casino games on foreign platforms but also by operators, who immediately applied for a license. In as little as a few months, the Dutch gambling market reached new heights and, in the following years, it’s expected to become one of the strongest in Europe, rivaling that of Spain, Italy, and the UK.
The contributions that gambling brought to the economy are definitely welcome, especially considering that 2020 brought a lot of instability and many other sectors took a hit. Even physical casinos, which previously attracted many visitors, were put on pause. Fortunately, online casinos were there to pick up the industry, and the revenue they generated helped the economy.
How do Dutch online casinos help the economy?
The first and most obvious benefit that online gambling brings to the economy comes in the form of a licensing fee that operators have to pay in order to obtain a license. The Dutch Remote Gambling Act specifically mentions that all online operators who wish to maintain their license also have to pay a tax that accounts for a fixed percentage of their earnings. While that may not sound too profitable for casinos, operators are more than happy to pay it because the benefits outweigh the costs and, by obtaining a license, they have access to one of the biggest European markets.
The taxes paid by online casino operators are good for the Dutch economy because the money is then redirected towards local and state programs, such as developing infrastructure and education.
Real estate and online gambling are also interlinked. Although online casinos do not help real estate as much as physical casinos, operators still need to have offices in the Netherlands, and that is a great opportunity for commercial real estate. In general, brick-and-mortar casinos are the ones that benefit the economy the most, especially considering that they also attract other businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, but still, the contribution of online casinos cannot be ignored. When they obtain a license in a specific country, operators rent office space there for their IT or marketing departments, and that adds to the economy.
Another reason why online casinos boost economic development is that they create jobs. Skeptics might argue that they don’t create as many jobs as physical casinos, but that’s not true. There is a lot of work behind an online casino and, even though players don’t physically interact with the games, that doesn’t mean the casino doesn’t need staff. Here are just a few jobs that online gambling creates:
- IT and development: programmers to create the mechanisms behind the games and who ensure that the platforms work seamlessly, no matter how many people access them. What’s more, online casinos need IT security experts to prevent cyberattacks, which are always a possibility when users withdraw and deposit large amounts of money. IT staff takes care of stability fixes, solves website bugs, and ensures withdrawal and deposit transactions work flawlessly.
- Art & design: 3D artists, animators and designers who are behind the amazing graphics of online casino games. The best providers of free online slot games invest a lot in their graphics departments to create seamless animations and game themes.
- Customer support: it’s very important for online casinos to respond to customer queries in a timely manner, which is why they have to hire dedicated customer support staff. Some casinos outsource this task to other countries, but language barriers and time zones can pose problems. That’s why, when obtaining a license in a country, respectable casino operators hire local customer representatives.
- Marketing staff: every online casino needs promotion, and that’s what marketing is for. Operators hire marketers to boost online exposure but also to educate players. For example, a casino’s marketing department can also be in charge of posting an online gambling playing guide on the casino’s blog to help new players.
Will online casinos diminish the importance of physical casinos in the Netherlands?
The announcement of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act propelled the Netherlands gambling market to new heights, and many people actually wondered if, in the following years, online casinos will overtake physical ones as the main source of entertainment, or perhaps as one of the biggest contributors to the economy.
While it cannot be denied that the global online gambling market continues to grow, physical casinos are not going away any time soon. In some cities, especially in the US, the influence of brick-and-mortar casinos has begun to drop, as the focus is placed on real estate properties, but, in Europe, including in the Netherlands, it’s actually the other way around. Physical casinos are once again starting to attract players and, once they are able to operate normally, players are expected to come back.
Last but not least, when borders reopen, physical casinos will attract tourists, and that will contribute greatly to the economy. In the end, it’s a win-win situation: physical and online casinos can co-exist, and both can benefit the economy. If we also consider the fact that operators have started to focus more on responsible gambling and now offer resources that tackle gambling addiction, it doesn’t come as a surprise that casinos have a positive reputation and are attracting more funding.