Dutch Legal Affairs Minister Franc Weerwind has announced new measures that he hopes will protect players from problem gambling.
Weerwind’s letter is in response to “worrying and unwanted developments” in the Dutch gambling industry. Since the evaluation of the Remote Gambling Act is not expected until 2024, Weerwind has decided to push ahead with the government’s new plans until then.
New measures announced on Thursday include requiring operators to contact players who have set a deposit limit of €350 (£303/$386). Operators should inform these players about the risks of gambling in such large amounts.
As reported by CasinoNewsWeerwind’s other suggestions include specifying financial amounts in euros and calling for further research on across-the-board gaming limits.
In October, Weerwind announced a multi-year digital resilience campaign program to combat online gambling-related fraud.
In his letter, Weerwind said: “Anyone who wants to do so should be able to gamble responsibly.” But responsible gambling can turn into problem gambling.
“Players need to be aware of this and protected from it. This doesn’t happen enough now. Research shows that providers encourage players to bet more money than they can afford to lose.
“With these measures, we oblige providers to intervene earlier and give players more control over their gaming behavior. This gives players better protection against excessive gambling and addiction.”
NOGA responds to Weerwind’s suggestions on problem gambling
Peter-Paul de Goeij, chairman of the Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA), warned Weerwind that his plans could lead to gambling being seen as “unattractive”.
“It is good that the minister is clarifying the rules for safe gambling and thus making the duty of care more concrete,” said De Goeij.
“At the same time, we must always ensure that legal gambling does not become too unattractive. We will carefully examine the proposal and make suggestions to improve it to achieve the desired effects.”
Meanwhile, Helma Lodders, chairwoman of the Licensed Dutch Online Gaming Providers (VNLOK), highlighted two areas in Weerwind’s letter that require further examination.
“Firstly, the measures prescribed are actually effective in keeping the number of problem gamblers as low as possible,” explained Lodders.
“Secondly, that the legal offer remains sufficiently attractive for the vast majority of players who participate responsibly.” The latter is important in order to prevent them from resorting to illegal supply again.”
Netherlands’ The Gambling Authority begins consultation on updated rules
In parallel with Weerwind’s letter, the Dutch Gambling Authority (KSA) has also started consultation for an update of its responsible gambling guidelines.
The new rules require operators to recognize and respond to signs of excessive gambling within an hour. Players who make a net deposit of more than €700 in a calendar month will be contacted and proof of income will be requested. For 18 to 24 year olds, this number drops to 300 euros per month.
Additionally, the new rules include a crackdown on idols that glorify gambling and a ban on non-targeted advertising.
Parties involved in the KSA consultation will respond before February 1, 2024. The aim is to publish the new rules in April.
A September KSA report found that players were at risk of “serious harm” due to the operator’s lack of care.