An investigation into duty care of responsibilities on problem gambling in the Netherlands has been extended by the country’s Gambling Authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA).
The regulator has taken the decision to extend the probe until the second quarter of the year, citing a need for more information from online gaming providers after coming to key conclusions from its analysis so far.
Specifically, the investigation identified ‘major differences’ across various operators in the way lost customer bets and average losses are handled, playing time and the number of bets, as well as in how and when interventions are made.
On player demographics, the KSA added that a small number of players are responsible for a large part of losses, playing time and bets, and that although young adults are specifically monitored for duty of care reasons there is ‘no clear approach’.
A summary in the KSA’s statement read: “An important first finding is that the providers have shaped their duty of care in very different ways. In addition, the information provided does not provide sufficient information about the exact process of the providers’ duty of care.”
To better inform the development of a coherent player protection policy in the Netherlands , the KSA has made the decision to extend its investigation and gather more information from operators.
The authority informed the Netherlands 22 licensed betting and gaming firms that it will publish a report once the investigation has been concluded in Q2.
The KSA’s initial call for information from operators following a separate investigation has also been conducted independently by Dr. Gert-Jan Meerkerk, KSA Research Partner and University of Utrecht lecturer.
This probe found that Dutch regulation was not ‘inferior’ to the policies of other European nations, and noted that some of the countries in question with stricter regulations do not have compatible situations.
However, the regulator did add that there were ‘starting points’ for further development of player protection, despite there being no ‘clear cut answers’ as to how a clearer policy could be formulated.
The KSA explained: “The games of chance sector and individual providers of games of chance have the responsibility to implement the statutory duty of care in a careful and responsible manner. A game of chance is not a ‘normal’ product and providers should behave accordingly.”
A heightened focus is currently being placed on responsible gambling and player protection in the Netherlands, particularly with regards to advertising, with politicians such as Justice Minister Franc Weerwind proposing major reform.
The KSA itself has upped the ante in this area, such as advising operators to avoid a ‘bombardment of advertising’ during the World Cup to avoid a political backlash.
Meanwhile, firms such as Holland Casino, JOI Gaming and Nederlandse Loterij’s Toto Online have found themselves on the sharp end of the regulatory stick due to advertising infractions.