the data behind Dutch player preferences in online casinos
The Dutch gambling market is about to open its gates. In October of 2021, Dutch players will go from flying under the radar to a legitimate entertainment at online casino. Many casinos and game developers might be wondering where the Dutch will focus their attention: what are the most popular slots with Dutch players?
Our research will show what Dutch players will focus on once the market opens. It could help casinos finetune their lobbies and the slots they offer, and it might help developers find their way in the ‘Dutch niche’. To help you understand Dutch players, we offer some background information before guiding you through our findings.
To understand the preferences of Dutch players, it’s important to first understand the context of the Dutch gambling market. This context is largely the result of an outdated legal approach. In 1964, the Dutch government legalized gambling by appointing a state-owned monopoly for land-based casinos and granting rights to sports betting and horse races to two appointed bookmakers. Aside from a thriving lottery market, the Dutch gambling market has been restricted to fourteen locations (by 2020) of Holland Casino and bookies with very restricted options. Popular betting options such as live sports betting are restricted for now.
Although Holland Casino is the only legal land-based casino, the Netherlands has also seen a rise in gambling halls. These establishments often call themselves casinos, but are not in the current legal framework, since they can’t offer classic table games – only mechanized versions. Over the years, these gambling halls and locations of fourteen casinos have served two different audiences. Holland Casino presents itself as a luxurious night out, where you go for fine dining and dress up before you play at a table. You pay an entry fee, play with higher stakes, and buy drinks and snacks.
To make up for their limited game catalogue, gambling halls have to offer other incentives: entry is free of charge, soft drinks are also free, and players don’t have to go anywhere for food – high-end gambling halls can offer a hot buffet, fried snacks and sandwiches. This means that while there is a legal distinction between a casino and a gambling hall, players play the same slot machines in either environment. The restrictions on land-based casinos are not as clear when it comes to slots, so Dutch players have an established habit of playing slots. Additionally, many slots have been popular for decades.
You can immediately see this context reflected in the lists of most popular slots in the Netherlands. It also explains the popularity of Dutch developer Stakelogic. Patriotic pride only accounts for a sliver of their market share; the most important factor is that the company started creating digital versions of popular land-based slots. The first hint of their popularity appears in our first graph of the 15 most popular slots for Dutch players. Stakelogic, a developer with only a moderate reach in the rest of the world, features three slots in the top 15
But that’s not where it ends. When you compare the most popular slots in the Nederlands in comparison to world-wide popularity, Stakelogic truly reigns supreme. The developer claims the top three spots and also has Club 2000 in the top 10 from Slot mainly played in Netherland.
Our data furthermore shows a few clear trend lines. All of these move Dutch players away from the classic slots they know and towards the spectacular video slots from developers like Play ‘n Go and NetEnt. This could indicate that while Dutch players are initially drawn to the slots they know, the online casino environment manages to interest these players in other games as well.
Comparing Europe’s most popular slots with the slots popular among Dutch players shows a pattern similar to what we’ve seen before. The European and world-wide favorites overlap to a large degree, but both differ significantly from the Dutch most popular slots. It’s this difference that gives Stakelogic a prominent place in the Dutch gaming landscape.
Other developers, too, differ between Europe’s and the Netherlands’ most popular slots. Red Tiger, Scientific Gaming, and Gameburger are all absent from Dutch players’ preferences. NetEnt only has half the slots in the top of the Dutch slots charts, and while Pragmatic Play and Play ‘n Go have a presence, they feature far less slots in the Dutch charts than in the European charts.
Readers familiar with Stakelogic will immediately recognize that the most popular Stakelogic slots only represent a small selection of their available slots. Furthermore, each of these slots represent classic slots rather than modern video slots. Stakelogic may have started turning land-based classics into digital versions, but has shifted to a broader perspective of offering both classic and modern slots.
However, it is their classic slots that ensure Stakelogic’s popularity among Dutch players. These slots are digital versions of the slots Dutch players are familiar with. It makes sense then, that Dutch players try to find the online version of the slots they have already been playing for years.
This success of Stakelogic is no surprise. It’s not just the local presence from this developer that allows them to create just the slots Dutch players are looking for. Their connection to Novomatic gives them direct access to exactly the games that players know – Novomatic is responsible for many of the physical slots that you’ll find in Dutch casinos and gaming halls. That shouldn’t discount the local connection to Dutch players. Stakelogic’s presence in the Netherlands and focus on the Dutch market gives them an edge in crafting the classic slots they know are popular.
Stakelogic’s success in the Netherlands puts them in a pivotal position once the Dutch market opens up to developers and casinos from all over the world. But while they’ve secured an important role in the Dutch market, 30-year-old slots might not last another 30 years in the future. CEO of Stakelogic, Stephan van den Oetelaar, said during a Gaming in Holland webinar that, “classic games will make up about 20% – 25% of the total Dutch online market, including live games”. At this point, Stakelogic has around 60 classic slots in their catalogue (which features nearly 150 slots in total). This underlines Stakelogic’s prime position to lead in the ‘Dutch niche’.
Classic games will make up about 20% – 25% of the total Dutch online market, including live games – CEO of Stakelogic, Stephan van den Oetelaar
A clear indication for this possible future shift in preferences can already be seen. While online gambling is still illegal for a few more months, the Dutch have a history in online casinos that spans about a decade. Many Dutch players have already branched out beyond the familiar slots from gaming halls and developed a more modern taste.
Continuing this trend could shift preferences overall, making classic slots less important in the Dutch market. Online casinos also list popular slots – their lists of most popular slots reflect global popularity far more than Dutch popularity. Dutch players may blend their preferences with global preferences, simply because popularity breeds popularity.
It will be interesting to see how these trends develop after the market opens up. Will casinos tailor to the Dutch market and therefore offer more classic slots than they would in other markets, or will Dutch preferences shift towards the worldwide preferences because they share a common environment?
A quick glance at the five most popular developers in the Netherlands might shed some light on the future. Stakelogic and NetEnt are the two most popular developers. This confirms exactly the data discussed above: Stakelogic taking its unique position among Dutch players, mostly due to offering the classic slots the Dutch have known for decades.
The world’s most popular developer, takes second place, which also fits the data. Starburst is the Netherlands’ most popular slot, and Hall of Gods is also prominently featured in the top 10 slots. This top two developers fits the proposed narrative where players enter a casino to play a classic slot, and then are recommended slots that are popular in the casino (and the rest of the world).
The top three is completed by Novomatic, another staple of gambling halls. Novomatic has recently bought Stakelogic and now has even more of a presence in the top regions of the Dutch slots charts. The most popular slot is Book of Ra, but Novomatic has quite a few classics. Part of the popularity comes from their own chain of gambling halls: Admiral Casinos is quickly adding locations across the Netherlands, which might only solidify their place in online casinos, too.
Some of the most popular slots overall mostly because of their creative game designs. Play ‘n GO is a perfect example of a developer that comes up once you’re inside an online casino. In Europe, Play ‘n GO is the second favorite developer, and Dutch players also appreciate classic Play ‘n Go slots such as Book of Dead, Fire Joker, and Reactoonz. Online casinos usually use their games for free spins promotion.
Known for its Mega Moolah jackpot (their only entry in the Dutch top 15 slots), an extensive portfolio, and collaborations with smaller studios. This developer offers a mixture between the classic slots of Stakelogic and Novomatic and the innovative NetEnt or Play ‘n GO slots.
Can’t forget about the BTG and Bonanza which is one of the most searched games among the Dutch players. With a special Megapays progressive jackpot feature in collaboration with Relax Gaming. Megapays is optimal jackpot feature where collective contribution from operators is involved. With Bonanza as the their only 1 from top 15, Megapays and BTG can make huge impact with bringing more games to the Dutch market awareness.
Push Gaming has been around since 2010 and is a relatively small player in the slot market. The slots of this provider are based on fairy tales and cartoons. The bonus features in the games are fairly predictable: there is often one main bonus and a mini feature. Push Gaming most famous slots are Jammin Jars 2, Fat Rabbit and Gems of the Gods.
One of the most versatile and award winning software developers out there! A developer that we will be hearing a lot from in the Netherlands in the upcoming years. Playtech is focused mostly on developing branded slots, like Superman, The Dark Knight and Rocky. These games do have a lot of progressive jackpots and attractive bonus features that attract many players. Especially Age of the Gods: God of Storm with four jackpots is one of the most popular slots among players of online slots.
This provider wants to tell a unique story with every slot. This provider is known for developing high quality games. The Gladiators, Fresh Fruits and Fairy Tale slots all have diverse characters that have been worked out to perfection. In addition, the games contain attractive bonuses and surprising features that appeal many players.
Who talks about Pragmatic Play, talks about Wolf Gold. This online slot has become an indispensable part of many online casino portfolios. The slot is known for the Mega Money Respin, which gives players a chance to win four different jackpots. All Pragmatic slots are developed in HTML 5, so they are suitable for any device. In addition to the great variance and game play, Pragmatic Play is known for the unique features within these slots. Great Rhino is also a good example of this. The games are easy to play and therefore very popular among many players.
Well established game developers with unique game design and interface. Relax Gaming get into the top list because of Money Train 2 which received the Award of the best slot game 2021. It seems the Dutch players also like quality games, therefore we expect the Relax to target Netherlands with the top-notch games.
WMS got to the list because of their Raging Rhino which was and still is popular in the international market. Their specialty while creating the game was bonus feature guarantee which granted min. 10x of stake.
One of the top game providers in the international market, however not that impressive search result in NL. With their 77+ slots and 2 slots released on average per month, it is about the time Quickspin will start making their way to the Dutch market with their big portfolio. Slot which made them listed was Big Bad Wolf which also claimed an award.
Wolf moon and Wild shark made Amatic a little more visible. Lot of Amatic slot games are with fruit thematic which is very appealing for Dutch players. It is not yet known if Amatic will show great interest to the market comparing to the other developers mentioned above.
What does this mean for the future? How will the landscape change once Dutch players enter a whole new kind of casino? Perhaps a mix between the current trends and popularity makes the most sense, where in a few years the Dutch mostly play the same games as the rest of the world, but classic slots remain an important niche, with Stakelogic in a prominent role supplying games for that niche.
Future online casinos in the Netherlands will include current companies that now run the gambling halls and Holland Casino. This could mean that the online Dutch gambling market looks similar to the current brick-and-mortar situation: a heavy focus on classic slots, with modern video slots taking a back seat at first.
What we do know is that Holland Casino will partner with developer Playtech. Based on the data, Playtech has 8 of their titles from 50 slots which got some search result. We can expect more games recognized from Playtech and after opening online Holland casino more brand awareness for Playtech. NetEnt and Play’n GO will rely on their international influence, with the rest of the top developers.
There are no certainties in gambling, and even with all this data, it’s impossible to precisely predict the future. What is clear, however, is that Dutch players love classic slots, but that new video slots and their developers are gaining popularity. It will be interesting to see how the opening of the Dutch market will affect players’ preferences, and just how much market share these new video slots and their developers will take from the slots Dutch players have known and loved for decades. But it’s a safe bet to say that classic slots will forever have a place in the Dutch market.
To gather data, we’ve analyzed data from Google and SemRush to see what players are looking for. Compared to the lists of popular slots from online casinos, using this data helps uncover the true preferences of Dutch players. We also reviewed the recent webinars and market entries from game developers to conclude the statements found in this research.