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Dutch regulator clarifies cashback bonus rules after breaches

| By Robert Fletcher
Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has adjusted its rules on cashback-type bonuses after several licensed operators breached regulations.
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Rules in the country state Dutch operators cannot offer cashback bonuses, whereby players get part of their losses back. However, KSA research identified similar bonus offers linked to losses that compensate players in other ways.

During the research period, the KSA found three operators to be offering such bonuses. One was issued a formal warning for funding a cashback bonus, while two others were contacted over loss-based bonuses.

The KSA said such bonuses contribute to players taking more risks. These include consumers playing with higher stakes as they know some of this will be recouped after they have run out of funds. 

As such, KSA has amended language in its regulations to state “bonus based on loss”. This means that any bonus linking to gambling losses is a breach of market rules.

“This also encourages excessive participation,” KSA chairman René Jansen said. “Players bet higher, take more risks and play more often, with all its consequences. 

“At KSA, the interests of players are central. A safe gambling market and the prevention of gambling problems are high on our agenda. 

“To protect players even better, we immediately clarify the definition as a basis for strict supervision. Any bonus that is in any way linked to a loss is prohibited.”

Clamping down on banned bonus offers

KSA launched its investigation last summer after being alerted to breaches of bonus rules. At the time, it said the bonuses are covered by advert laws and cannot encourage “excessive” gambling.

This research came in the wake of an earlier instruction from KSA in November 2022. This ordered all Dutch igaming licensees to stop offering cashback bonuses.

As reported by CasinoNieuws, KSA sent a letter to all Dutch igaming licensees making clear cashback bonuses are banned as they can encourage “excessive participation”. Licensees were given one week to confirm they were not offering such bonuses.

Ultimately, the stance on such bonuses is aimed at preventing problem gambling behaviour. In December, Dutch minister for legal protection, Franc Weerwind, revealed new measures to help protect players.

These include providers being required to contact players who have set a deposit limit of €350 (£299/$381). Operators should inform such players of the risks of gambling in such high amounts.

Other proposals involve exhibiting financial amounts in euros and pushing for further research on overarching gaming limits.

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