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Dekker pledges to protect children and young adults in Dutch market

| By Robert Fletcher
Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker said the government will focus on protecting children and young adults from gambling-related harm when the country’s legal igaming market opens, in response to concerns raised by an MP.
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The Netherlands is scheduled to open the regulated market on 1 October, after its launch was delayed several times. Dekker confirmed the latest delay in opening the market last month, with laws regulating the market now due to come into effect from 1 April.

Ahead of the market launching, Dekker answered a series of questions from MP Stieneke van der Graff, primarily focused around the protection of players – particularly young people – when the market opens.

Van der Graff raised a query about section 7.2 of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act (KOA), which refers to how certain articles within the Act can be implemented at different times if the government sees fit.

The MP asked whether this would be implemented to allow Section B of Article 6.2 to come into force. This section of the Act sets out how advertisements must not be aimed at on people aged 24 or under.

In response, Dekker said that, as licensees would be required to ensure adverts do not target children or young adults as part of their licensing requirements, there is no need to implement this part of the Act at an earlier stage.

“Licensees may not target their advertising at minors,” Dekker said. “For licence-holders who offer games of chance, they are not allowed to carry any advertising that focuses on young adults. Therefore, earlier entry into force of Article 6.2. of the Act is not necessary.”

In addition, van der Graff questioned whether current restrictions on certain gambling ads appearing on television before 9pm would remain in place. Dekker said that this requirement, which became law in November 2020, would remain and apply to all licensees when the market launches.

“For higher-risk games of chance, it is prohibited to broadcast adverts for this on television between 6am and 9pm,” Dekker said. “For other games of chance, this prohibition applies between 6am and 7pm.”

In terms of the help on offer to those who do suffer from gambling problems, van der Graff asked whether the government would consider working with people who specialise in this area when developing its support options.

Dekker said the proposed addiction prevention policies set out in the Act have been developed in close collaboration with experts in addiction prevention and care.  

He added that licence-holders will be required to have in place a policy to help customers avoid addiction problems and offer support to those suffering with these issues.

“To be able to connect sufficiently with the Dutch system of addiction treatment, it is necessary for the licensee to engage an expert organisation when compiling information regarding addiction prevention,” Dekker said.

“This will improve the quality of the information and the interest of the player to protect them from gambling addiction monitored.”

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