According to YogoNet Gaming News, Dutch is about to enter their strictest lockdown since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This also means that even safe casinos and entertainment venues such as amusement parks, cinemas, museums, etc., will be closed down.
This third lockdown is expected to elapse on the 19th of January 2021. Meanwhile, before this third lockdown, the first lasted for more than three months. Within the week, the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that non-essential shops and business would have to close down for five weeks.
Initially, the casino operators had already complained of incurring several losses. Will the government provide incentives to assist them in recovering from their losses?
Effect of the Third Lockdown on Dutch Casinos
It is unimaginable the huge losses that casinos across the country have incurred. Currently, the Netherlands has 14 casino operators, and all have to lockdown because they fall under non-essential shops and businesses. Reports have shown that casinos’ revenue after the first lockdown fell by 58.7 percent to €146.3m. The net loss recorded within this period is estimated to be around €28.3m.
However, before the first lockdown, reports were that casinos in the country were doing well and recorded a turnover of up to 7 percent. Before March, the average number of visits and the spending per visit was 3.9 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
Other effects of COVID-19 on the Dutch casino sector include:
Employment: Within this period, some of the casino staff have lost their jobs because the operators can no longer pay wages. It is understandable since they were not operational and no profit was made.
Losses: The losses recorded by casinos within this period far outweigh losses incurred by some sectors in the country. For instance, tourists can no longer visit the country frequently as before. Don’t forget, tourists also make up a good percentage of visitors to the casinos.
Patronage: The fear of contracting the virus has also reduced the number of regular customers to the casinos. Although their strict obedience to regulations, some customers may not be comfortable in public places.
Nations around the world that are locked down by COVID-19 are still grappling to survive the effect on their economy.
Online Casinos in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is among the few countries in Europe that don’t permit online or iGaming. However, the delays for the passage of the Remote Gambling Act have been linked to the pandemic. Moreover, Sander Dekker had written to the Dutch parliament’s lower house, confirming that the legislation would be operational within the next two months. Dekker is the Minister for Legal Protection.
Nevertheless, they are speculations that the said law would come into force from the 1st of March 2021. More so, Dekker added that the delay would afford all parties enough time to prepare for the launch. Also, the law is expected to be enforced after six months. Operators would have ample time to prepare and kick-off.
Land-based Casinos in Holland
Only 14 casinos are currently allowed to operate in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the casinos are situated in major cities. Meanwhile, others are located in cosmopolitan cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Nijmegen, etc.
Presently, all the casinos operating in the country are owned by Holland Casinos. Holland Casinos is owned by the state, and it has a monopoly on all gambling activities in the country. All casino halls in the Netherlands offer games like:
A list of the casinos in the Netherlands is as follows:
The Impact of Closing Casinos on the Dutch Economy
No doubt, the Dutch economy has been adversely affected by the closure of casinos. In 2019, the Dutch government’s revenues from casinos were estimated at 728 million euros, according to the Dutch State Treasury Agency.
In 2019, the revenue generated by casinos increased by 65 million euros compared to the previous year. This growth was expected in 2020, but all that changed with the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Dutch economy has also suffered some immeasurable losses because of the close of casinos in the country. Since all the casinos are state-owned, it will also affect politics and civil servants.
Will the Dutch Casino Sector Bounce Back?
Like other countries that have suffered the same fate, the Dutch casino sector would hopefully come back better. However, this will be unlikely if the stakeholders are not prudent and up and doing.
Finally, the pandemic swept some sectors of the economy away. Therefore, the casino industry is lucky to remain relevant despite the various lockdowns.