René Jansen, Chair of the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has assessed the first 14 months of the Dutch online gambling market in a speech to the Amsterdam Gambling & Awareness Congress 2022, noting that the regulator has found the balance between responsible gambling and issuing licences a difficult task.
The KSA chief explained that the regulator has three key objectives: protecting consumers, preventing gambling addiction and combating illegality and crime.
However, Jansen observed that prevention of gambling is, to some extent, contradictory with its remit to issue licences.
“It may seem contradictory at first glance; on the one hand, our legislation allows more companies to legally offer games of chance, and on the other hand, insist on addiction prevention,” he said.
“The reality is that the Remote Gambling Act allows us to exert more influence on this prevention through our supervision of licensees.”
Jansen claimed that games of chance, as gambling products are referred to in the Netherlands, are a ‘fact of life’, adding these must be organised and provided safely and fairly.
He warned: “If that is not the case, then we will find something about it and we will take
action against abuses where we can.”
A notable recent example of this is the KSA’s €400,000 fine against Toto Online, a Nederlandse Loterij subsidiary, for advertising its gambling products to young adults during the World Cup.
The regulator ruled that football pools are games and no gambling advertisements are allowed to be displayed there.
Addressing the strict rules on advertising, Jansen stated that there has been a noticeable increase in visible gambling marketing, whether this is across television or on roadside billboards.
He also noted that political and public discourse has also covered whether or not playing limits are restrictive enough, or whether operators’ duty of care is adequately implemented.
“The opening up of the market and the number of providers trying to secure a place on the market often leads to a kind of ‘overkill’ in such an initial phase, before normalisation takes place,” he said. That is why there has been and will be intervention in various areas, both by the Minister and by the KSA.”
Finally, Jansen reminded attendees of the importance of defeating gambling addiction, which is the aim of the strict advertising rules, and asserted that co-operations from all parties is required to do so.
He concluded: “And that also brings me to an appeal to you, ladies and gentlemen, about the point I started with, which is the importance of cooperation.
“I hope that this day will make an important contribution to that. Because only with cooperation and an open dialogue beyond our own agendas can we improve the care that is needed for people with a gambling addiction.
“And above all: prevent addiction as much as possible. That is what I am committed to as KSA chairman, and I know you are too.”