The illegal poker circuit got an extra boost in the corona years and has been thriving ever since. Through Facebook, paid tournaments and so-called cash games are offered daily in a café or at someone's home. "Illegal activities have increased, which also worries us," says state-owned Holland Casino.
Poker players complain about few offers in the Netherlands
According to poker players, another factor was that the legal offer of the same Dutch casino was significantly lower. Although there are several risks associated with illegal poker, such as unpaid winnings, cheating and threats. Protesting poker players found the staff shortage argument unconvincing, partly because they thought it might attract more international poker dealers, even if they were more expensive.
They suspect that financial interests also play a role in the trade-off: poker is less profitable for casinos than roulette or blackjack. Online poker is also possible, but many poker players do not find a realistic alternative to "looking your opponent in the eye", as one of them put it.
The Kansspelautoriteit also warns players about the risks of illegal poker on its own website. It mentions fraud and uncertain payments, stressing that participation is punished.