Organizing a game of chance or lottery: what are the rules?

You cannot play in a game hall or on a slot machine without a permit. In some countries games of chance are forbidden and in other places only a couple of license holders can offer them to customers. Online games of chance are even illegal. The rules are very strict because during a game a chance a player cannot influence the outcome. It’s possible to win a big prize, but there’s also a chance to lose money. What are the other rules when a company wants to organize a game of chance or lottery?


Advertising Code for Games of Chance

The rules regarding advertisement and recruitment in the casino- and lottery industry are very strict. You can find them in the Advertising Code for Games of Chance, which can also be read online. One of the important rules is that shop owners need a permit to organize a promotion. This also accounts for a shop owner who, together with at least nine other SME entrepreneurs, gives away free lottery tickets to customers. Entrepreneurs can apply for this permit at the Chamber of Commerce.

License holders and gambling tax
In the Netherlands there are only a couple of license holders. Among them are the Dutch State Lottery, Holland Casino and Lotto. These lotteries use the same rule, namely that someone who wins more than 449 euros has to pay a gambling tax. There are some lotteries who pay the taxes themselves though. Make sure that you read the rules of the lottery, so that you know what to expect.

Strict rules for organizing a lottery

Perhaps you like to organize an occasional lottery for friends, family or colleagues. In that case you need to apply for a permit as well. This can be done at the municipality where the lottery draw takes place. It’s also possible to contact the Gambling Authority to obtain a permit. Where you have to go depends on the total worth of the prize money. Be aware that the rules regarding lotteries are quite strict. For example, the total revenue of a lottery must have a public interest purpose. A charity or an important organization might be an option.

Code of conduct for bingo and promotional games of chance
Organizing a bingo game is great fun. Only associations are allowed to do this though. They don’t need a permit, but there are some conditions. It’s required to register the bingo game at the municipality in which it takes place. Perhaps you like to organize a promotional game of chance, not necessarily bingo. In that case there are several rules as well. Make sure that you read the Code of Conduct for Promotional Games of Chance to know them.

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