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Online gambling firms freeze Dutch accounts as licenced providers start up

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International online gambling companies such as Unibet, Pokerstars and Bwin have frozen or are freezing the accounts of their Dutch punters from Friday, citing changes to the Dutch gambling legislation.

Hundreds of thousands of people are thought to gamble online from the Netherlands, even though it has been technically illegal up to today.

Justice minister Sander Dekker had given the international firms until October 1 to close their services to people in the Netherlands. He also pledged to take legal action against companies which do not respect the Dutch position from November 1.

Companies which had targeted Dutch punters, for example by using the Dutch payment system Ideal, were excluded from the current licencing round, but maybe able to apply next year.

‘My members all want to apply for a licence,’ said Peter-Paul de Goeij, chairman of lobby group Noga, which represents the seven big firms without a permit. ‘And if you really want something, barking and biting does not help.’

Ten companies have been given licences to offer online gambling from Friday, including two owned by the Dutch state.

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