'WE'RE NOT VIOLATING EU RULES WITH OUR MONOPOLY' SAYS DUTCH MINISTER
1 September 2006
European Commission assured that Dutch government is playing it by the book
The Dutch government has reiterated its view that its policy on gambling does not violate EU rules, according to a report this week in NIS News. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner briefed the Dutch parliamentary Lower House on his response this week.
Donner sent the letter in response to criticism from European Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, who expressed strong reservations about the Dutch gambling monopoly in a letter written in April. McCreevy opined that the Dutch are not in compliance with the free traffic of services because the Netherlands government allows only state company Holland Casino to operate casinos.
In his riposte, Donner claimed the monopoly is justified because Holland Casino also tries to prevent gambling addiction and to counter money laundering. The European Commission does not consider these arguments valid, but Donner argues that the policy makes it possible to impose restrictions on the free traffic of services.
The Dutch wish to call a halt to further Holland Casino expansion, Donner's letter continues. The Dutch minister "sees no reason" to permit the state company to open more casinos in the Netherlands or elsewhere, nor is "the operation of cinemas or shops by Holland Casino an item for discussion".
In the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelblad of 31 July, director Henk Kivits of Holland Casino talked about expansion plans at home and abroad, which do not fit in with the restrictive Dutch gambling policy. But according to Donner, Kivits meanwhile "regrets that the representation of his words in the newspaper was inaccurate".
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