The Dutch Government Institutes A New Casino And Slot Hall Curfew

Image by Markus Winkler
Article by : Helen Sep 30, 2020

Starting Sunday, September 20, Dutch casinos in five of the nation’s twenty-five regions must adhere to a strict new Covid-19 curfew. These regions include Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, Utrecht, Hoofddorp, and Leiden. As part of this new curfew, no new patrons will be admitted into the casinos after midnight. Additionally, casinos must turn lights on and stop playing music. By 1 AM, the doors must be closed and locked.

The Netherlands has 101 thousand confirmed cases and 6,296 deaths from Covid-19. While new Covid-19 cases are relatively few compared to other European countries, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport hopes to remain vigilant as the country faces a potential second wave of infections. To date, the Netherlands has only about a 6 percent infection rate. This leaves substantial room for more waves of infection if the Dutch relax restrictions on public gatherings.

The Casino’s curfew rules are in addition to other measures recommended by the Dutch government. They urge people to practice the 1.5-meter rule for social distancing and work from home if possible. The 1.5-meter rule is strictly enforced with a $435 fine. Additionally, people should avoid crowds and shop during off-peak hours. Another rule is a limitation on how many people can visit someone in a home. Not including children under thirteen, this number is six. Indoor public spaces cannot have more than 100 people, and they must still practice social distancing.

The new casino and slot-hall rules come as there was some initial confusion regarding what types of venues must follow them. The Dutch gambling trade association VAN Kansspelen insisted the rules only applied to restaurants and bars. However, to clarify things, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport referred the casinos to the written version of the rules. Large recreational gathering places such as movie theaters and concert halls, as well as casinos and slot halls, are also included. Additionally, people in groups of fifty or more, including inside casino parties, must be reported to the government.

Some critics believe the Dutch authorities were slow to react to the spreading virus. They point to the fact that casinos and slot halls closed down in mid-March, several weeks after similar venues in other parts of Europe. Dutch casinos reopened on July 1. Although the original reopening date was September 1, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge moved up the date because of pressure from VAN Kansspelen and Holland Casino. They claimed the extended closures would damage the Dutch gaming industry and risk the loss of 8,000 jobs.

The Dutch government has come under scrutiny for how they are handling the global pandemic. In an address to the Dutch people, Prime Minister Rutte noted his government’s strategy for handling the spread of the virus is “Controlled distribution among groups that are least at risk is.” The goal is to build up herd immunity among the Dutch population. However, as many countries have discovered, Covid-19 can kill even the healthiest of people. This approach seems to accept that some of those that contract the virus will die.

They’re letting the virus run loose…It’s a dangerous approach.

Maggie de Block, Belgium’s minister of public health

In response to the criticism the Dutch government can tout that their country had one of the briefest infection peaks in all of Europe. This is at least anecdotal evidence that the Dutch government’s efforts stopped the spread of the virus.


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