Dutch Ministry of Justice sends letter to gambling sites

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The Ministry of Justice has again declared to the Public Prosecutors’ Office that legal action be taken against three gambling sites. The Internet companies involved specifically target the Dutch market. The Ministry of Justice has not disclosed which Internet gaming sites are involved but it is generally known that the government has already been monitoring the same three sites for sometime now. The Swedish bookmaker Unibet has already been implicated in several previous cases involving the Dutch government. "It gives the Dutch public a chance to gamble, even though the providers do not possess a license, which is prohibited in the Netherlands," said Wim van der Weegen of the Ministry of Justice.

In addition, the Ministry sent letters to three television channels, including RTL and Veronica. In the letter, the television stations were told to stop broadcasting and producing advertisements for poker Internet sites, as well as any other form of the sponsoring of poker sites, because in this way the "illegal gambling" would be facilitated. "They (the poker Internet sites) are violating the law on gambling," said Van Der Weegen.

The producer of six well-known poker programs, Simple Media, has received a letter from the Justice Department. Woldberg Laurens of Simple Media replied by saying, "We are surprised, because we have done nothing wrong. We create programs within the framework of the law and our poker programs are played not using money as the stake. I will say that the poker shows have references to poker sites, but these are only free websites where you can play for points rather than real money.”

The Public Prosecutors’ Office will now examine the case in detail to see if action should be taken. Earlier warnings from the Ministry of Justice to various Internet gambling sites to stop their activities have gone unheeded. The gambling sites claim that they are not in violation of the law, because they do have gambling licenses, issued in other European countries. Under the freedom of trade within the European Union these licenses would therefore be legal even in the Netherlands.

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