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In a significant move, the Dutch government has granted power to Dutch municipal health services (Gemeentelijke Gezondheids Dienst – GGD) to close leisure establishments such as casinos and slot arcades. The GGD can exercise this power, if needed, for containing the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo De Jonge announced this decision amidst concerns about rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

Dutch gambling trade association VAN Kansspelen also issued a warning to its members to strictly implement all restrictions and ensire that customers follow all of the measures intended to limit the spread of the virus, such as keeping a distance from one another.

“The number of infections is increasing and people not adhering to the basic rules as closely, such as observing the 1.5m and hygiene measures,” VAN Kansspelen said. “The national government is taking measures to prevent further spread of the virus.

“As a sector, it is important to contribute to the prevention of infections. We therefore call on you to adhere to all protocols and the rules. Also inform your guests of this if they do not comply with this.

The Netherlands government allowed casinos and slot arcades to start functioning again on July 1, after closing in mid-March.