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In this blog, we will go over the key moments in the history of charity lotteries in the Netherlands, which date back to the 1700s. Read carefully because, in recent times, there have been some updates to the online gambling laws made by the Dutch Gaming Authority and not just those for charity gaming.

In addition, the crucial question of ‘What are the biggest Dutch charity lotteries?’ has been answered and some interesting facts about which good causes have received their support can be discovered. If you want to know how much money these organisations have raised, that will also come later, but to give you a small teaser – the top charity lottery alone has donated more than 7 billion euros.

Gaming for Charity in the Netherlands

Here’s a list of the key events that left a mark on the charitable gaming industry in the Netherlands. We investigate them more in-depth below to understand how significant gaming for a good charity is, not just for people in the Netherlands, but for everyone they have helped around the world.

Staatsloterij Becomes the State Lottery

The year 1726 marks the official beginning of charity gaming in the Netherlands. At that time, the laws of the Netherlands concerning ‘games of chance’ stated that there can be only one state lottery. Hence, the Staatsloterij, or the Dutch State Lottery, gained access to the only licence for a state lottery, which it still owns to this day.

In addition, the Dutch State Lottery also includes the Lotto, which is the only organisation in the Netherlands that can distribute scratchcards and facilitate sports betting. These two entities used to have a full monopoly of the market, and even though they are still the only ones that can have a permanent licence, things soon change when more competitors are allowed to start operations.

The National Charity Lotteries

After the Second World War, more and more charities started to pop up to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Netherlands. However, the true change for lottery charities came when the National Charity Lotteries foundation was established in 1989 by the National Postcode Lottery.

This allowed charity lotteries to unite and make significant donations by gaming for good NL charity or other worldwide causes. It took some time before the next big lottery, The Friends Lottery, joined. However, this is where the foundations of the world’s second-largest charity organisation were laid by Simon Jelsma.

The Friends & BankJiro Lotteries

Once The Friends Lottery and the BankJiro Lottery joined the foundation in 1998 and 2002, respectively, the National Charity Lotteries became a true force to be reckoned with. Each organisation supports a different type of charity, and the National Postcode Lottery alone has raised more than 7 billion euros.

The good causes supported by them range from fields like environment and human rights to health, sports and wellbeing. Their donations have been estimated to support more than 200 charities, and the number keeps growing as the foundation thrives.

Dutch Lottery Market Opens Up

In 2016, something significant happened in the Dutch charity gaming market. The legislation was passed in parliament to make the granting of licences for charity gaming more favourable to private companies.

As a result, 5 more gaming charities obtained licences to hold up to 4 lottery draws a year. If you want to find out which these new contributors are, keep reading because they are in our list of the most popular NL charitable lotteries.

Online Gambling in the Netherlands Becomes Legal

Last but not least, a long-expected legislation that passed in 2021 made online gambling in the Netherlands legal for companies that have obtained a permit from the Dutch Gaming Authority (The Kansspelautoriteit or NGA). In addition, licences to 10 providers were issued, so only the best Netherlands casino sites made the cut.

The Most Popular NL Charitable Lotteries

Now that you have familiarised yourself with the past of charity gaming in the Netherlands, it’s time to look to the present. Nowadays, these benevolent organisations are more popular than ever. Many Dutchies would probably know these names just from the top of their heads, but if you don’t, here are the top NL charitable lotteries:

Popular Charitable Lottery Supported Cause
🌎 National Postcode Lottery Environment and human rights
🏅 Friends Lottery Health, sports, wellbeing and culture
👵 Zonnebloem Lottery Care for the disabled, sick and elderly
🧒 Jantje Beton Lottery For a child’s right to play
🏕️ The National Scouting Organisation Challenging activities for youngsters
👩‍⚕️ KWF Seizoenslotterij Fighting cancer

Some additional information that might be interesting to know is that in 2021 the Friends Lottery and the BankJiro Lottery merged under the name Friends Lottery. They also merged their list of supported causes, so now they cover a large portion of good causes.

To provide some examples of these good causes, the National Postcode Lottery supports Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Commonland and many more. National Postcode Lottery is arguably the most popular charitable gaming organisation in the Netherlands and internationally.

Originally founded as a fundraiser, from which the proceeds went to the Council for Refugees, this specific format for a lottery is quite interesting. As the name suggests the postcode lottery requires your ZIP code to participate. It offered the unique chance to win prizes together with your neighbours from the same street, which also brought a sense of community to Dutch society that cannot be overlooked.

Other Dutch Charitable Lotteries

Since the charity gambling laws changed a lot in 2016 to be more accommodating to private charities, many new organisations have popped up. They are not all as big or popular as the ones we already talked about. Nevertheless, they support good causes and contribute to Dutch and international society, so they deserve an honourable mention.

Some of these smaller charity gaming organisations are Lot of Happiness, Snapchance, BeterLot, Care-a-Lot and more. With Care-a-Lot, for example, you get the chance to choose a good cause to support every time you play.

A curious fact about the Dutch lottery system or, at least, the practices of many of these lotteries is that they often work with a subscription. People pay a monthly fee to participate in the draw every time there is one. This way, they become more committed to helping charities in the long term rather than only buying a ticket once in a while.

Dutch Charity Gambling Laws & Regulation

When it comes to rules and regulation, the gambling laws in the Netherlands are very strict. For Dutch people preventing gambling addiction is a key concern, so the government has always been strict on what’s allowed. Taking into account recent developments, the rules have changed a lot, and, of course, they are complex. For charity gaming, there are 3 main rules, which we’ve explained below.

Permits & Netherlands Gaming Authority

The first rule Dutch charity gaming companies need to adhere to is related to having a valid permit. These permits are usually granted by the local municipality but are overseen by the NGA. Whether they get involved depends on the prize pool. For anything over 4500€, they have to get involved.

Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. If your company wants to organise a promotional game, where it promotes its services or products, things are a bit different. For example, a lot of nursing homes in the Netherlands hold bingo competitions with a prize for the winners.

In that case, they don’t need a permit, as long as the prize pot is not higher than 1550€, and each winner gets no more than 400€. Finally, the local municipality has to know of the event, and the company must be at least 3 years old.

Required Donation to Charity Organisation

Differentiating charity gaming from general gambling is another key point. To even be considered for a permit, the main requirement companies must meet is the donation of at least 40% of their revenue. Furthermore, whatever remains must account for the costs that occurred while organising the gaming event.

Charity Gaming Taxes

Benjamin Franklin once said: ‘In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes’. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as with any other income, money won from participating in charity games is taxed. Whether the gambling tax in the Netherlands is covered by the companies themselves, deducted as a fee from the prize or the sole responsibility of the winner, any prize money above 449€ is taxed.

Let’s say you won a sum between 4500€ and 45,000€ from the National Postcode Lottery. You will have to pay a 29% gambling tax to the Dutch government. However, keep in mind that the rules for online gambling are quite different. In case you have won a prize from an online casino that holds a licence from the NGA, you don’t pay any games of chance tax.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve reached the end of this blog and we hope you found it not just informative but intriguing. However, if something about Dutch charitable gaming is unclear, we have prepared some frequently asked questions. Take a look, and you might find more noteworthy facts.

1️⃣ What is the oldest Dutch charitable gaming organisation?

The oldest dutch charitable gaming organization is the Staatsloterij or the Dutch State Lottery. All the way back to 1726, it gained access to the only licence for a state lottery available. In the Netherlands, the law states there can only be one state lottery, and Staatsloterij owns the permit to this day.

2️⃣ Is gambling for non-charity purposes legal in the Netherlands?

Yes, since 2021, gambling is legal. However, that is only with an operator that holds a valid licence from the Netherlands Gaming Authority. When the legislation passed, there were 10 licences issued to providers. So, if you want to play at an online casino from the Netherlands, first make sure they hold a valid licence.

3️⃣ Do I have to pay tax on winnings obtained while gaming for NL charity?

Yes, in the Netherlands, winnings obtained from charitable games (like lotteries) are taxed at 29%. Whether the tax is withheld from the winnings by the organization or has to be paid independently by you can vary depending on the situation. So, check the tax rules and regulations that are in place before playing.

4️⃣ What good charities do Dutch lotteries support?

The top Dutch charitable lotteries support hundreds of good charities, like Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Commonland and many more. The fields to which they contribute with donations range from environment and care for the elderly to cancer research and child development. In many cases, you can even choose which charity you would like your money to go to.

5️⃣ How much money obtained from charity gaming do NL companies have to donate?

Charitable gaming companies must donate at least 40% of their revenue to charity. They need to fit this donation requirement to be granted a permit to operate. Of course, there are some exceptions for when this permit is granted, but those only apply when the winnings are rather small. In addition, whatever remains must account for costs that occurred while organising the gaming event.

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