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Netherlands minister Weerwind announces new plans to counter problem gambling

| By kylegoldsmith
The Netherlands minister for legal protection, Franc Weerwind, has announced new measures that he hopes will protect players from problem gambling.
Netherlands KSA

Weerwind’s letter comes in response to “worrying and undesirable developments” in the Netherlands’ gambling industry. With the evaluation of the Remote Gambling Act not expected until 2024, Weerwind has decided to push on with the government’s new plans before then.

The new measures, announced on Thursday, include providers being required to contact players who have set a deposit limit of €350 (£303/$386). Operators should inform such players of the risks of gambling in such high amounts.

As reported by CasinoNieuws, Weerwind’s other proposals involve exhibiting financial amounts in euros and pushing for further research on overarching gaming limits.

In October, Weerwind announced a multi-year digital resilience campaign programme to combat fraud associated with online gambling.

In his letter, Weerwind said: “Everyone who wants to do so should be able to play a game of chance responsibly. But responsible gaming can turn into problematic gambling.

“Players must be aware of this and be protected against it. This is not happening 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 we give players more control over their gaming behaviour. This gives players more protection against excessive gambling and addiction.”

NOGA responds to Weerwind’s problem gambling proposals

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 clarifies the rules for safe gambling and thus makes the duty of care more concrete,” De Goeij stated.

“At the same time, we must always be careful that legal gambling is not made too unattractive. We will study the proposal carefully and make suggestions to improve it and thus achieve the desired effects.”

Meanwhile, Helma Lodders, chairman of the Licensed Dutch Online Gaming Providers (VNLOK), highlighted two areas of Weerwind’s letter that need further examination.

“Firstly, that imposed measures are actually effective in keeping the number of problem players as small as possible,” Lodders explained.

“Secondly, that the legal offer remains sufficiently attractive for the vast majority of players who participate in a responsible manner. The latter is important to prevent them from returning to the illegal supply.”

Netherlands’ Gaming Authority starts consultation on updated rules

Alongside Weerwind’s letter, the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA) has also started its consultation for an update to the Responsible Gaming Policy Rules.

The new rules include providers recognising and acting upon signs of excessive gambling within an hour, while players who make a net deposit of over €700 in a calendar month will be contacted and proof of income requested. This number drops to €300 a month for those aged 18-24.

Furthermore, new rules include a clamp down on role models to glamourise gambling, as well as a ban on untargeted advertising.

Parties who have been involved in the KSA’s consultation will respond before 1 February 2024. The aim is to publish the new rules in April.

A KSA report in September found players were at risk of “serious damage” due to the lack of operator care.

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