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Dutch gambling sector passes one million active accounts milestone

| By Richard Mulligan
The Dutch gambling market saw a slowdown in growth during 2023 as active online accounts passed the one million mark for the first time.
Netherlands gambling ad ban

The Kansspelautoriteit gaming authority’s (KSA) sixth monitoring report on Dutch online gambling recorded gross gaming revenue (GGR) of €1.39bn for the year to 31 December 2023.

This was up 28% compared to the same period in 2022. However, in the last six months the GGR increased just slightly by 1% compared to the first half of the year.

The report revealed that the number of active accounts stood at 1.1 million in 2023. This was up 13% on 2022. A year earlier there were 970,000.

The KSA estimates that about a third of accounts are played by a total of 448,000 players per month. In the second half of 2023, around 726,000 players were active with legal providers. This means that approximately 5% of adult Dutch people gambled online in that six-month period.

The monitoring report estimated that players lost an average of €958 over the last six months of 2023. This amounts to approximately €160 per month, slightly lower than the €170 in the first half of the year.

The KSA warned that young adults are overrepresented within the Dutch gambling sector. Those aged 18-23 account for 9.5% of the population, but own 22% of gambling accounts.

“This percentage was virtually the same in the previous monitoring report, so the number of young adult players in the past year has not increased significantly,” the KSA said. “Young adults lose less money than players aged 24 and older: on average €52 per month.”

Dutch untargeted advertising ban makes little impact

The report also considered channelisation and advertising, with this being the first report published since the ban on untargeted advertising came into effect in July 2023.

Some 90% of players only gamble via legal websites, which is above the target of 80%.

On advertising, KSA said: “The report shows that the market has not experienced any noticeable contraction since the ban. However, the number of visits to gambling websites by people who are not players has decreased significantly. People who already played do not come less often, so the advertising ban mainly affects people who do not yet play.”

In February, KSA presented its supervisory agenda for 2024, citing four areas of focus. Looking to achieve its mission of “safe gaming”, the KSA says it will increase its protection of vulnerable players in the Netherlands by looking to prevent addiction.

The country took measures to do this in 2023, including the introduction of a ban on most forms of advertising.

The KSA is also looking to combat illegal online offerings, aiming for at least 90% of players to gamble with legal providers in the Netherlands.

In a December article for iGB, Yield Sec chief executive Ismail Vali noted how the KSA’s current approach appeared to lack clear success in actual enforcement terms.

In February, a motion to completely prohibit gambling advertising in the Netherlands was submitted by Derk Boswijk of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party. While the move to go further than the 2023 ban on untargeted advertising ultimately failed, its proposal was the latest indicator of the rising concern over gambling harms in the Netherlands.

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