KSA ‘happy to take risk’ on minimum spend for young bettors

Rene Jansen, Chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has issued some updated advice to operators off the back of findings from the regulator’s recent investigation into duty-of-care standards.

Of concern to the KSA, the investigation found differences in the handling of losses, playing time and bet numbers, as well asin how and when operators conduct investigations – at a time when some Dutch politicians are fixated on the potential societal impacts of gambling.

As such, the KSA has decided to extend the investigation into the second quarter, a choice that Jansen explained in a recent blog post published on the KSA’s website.

The Chair explained: “There are too many signals about players losing large sums in a short period of time, about young players getting into trouble due to loss of control in online gambling.

“They worry me a lot. Because the duty of care should ensure that these kinds of signals are at most incidental and sporadic, instead of recurring and elusive. Our initial research findings reveal a very broad and varied interpretation of the duty of care. 

“Of the early parties that we have questioned about this, no two are alike in their approach. How exactly does it work in practice for a large group of permit holders? We want to know more, which is why we have now also commissioned discussions with providers about concrete practical examples.”

Jansen reiterated the KSA’s findings that a small group of players are responsible for a ‘large part’ of the market’s losses, playing time and bet numbers, and claimed there is no coherent cross-industry strategy on how this is addressed and how interventions are handled.

“This is just a first sampling of the findings,” he wrote. “One that, as far as I’m concerned, already makes it clear that we have to dig a spade deeper. And that we should definitely consider prescribing the theme of ‘duty of care’ more specifically and practically.”

Much of the both regulator and the government’s focus on gambling during the market’s expansion over the past 17 months has been on how to protect young and vulnerable people from gambling-related harm.

Advertising has of course been a key talking point in the Netherlands and is the focus of Justice Minister Franc Weerwind’s upcoming legislation. The KSA even cautioned operators during the World Cup to avoid excessive marketing due to possible political backlash.

In response to the initial findings of the KSA’s extended investigation, Jansen has argued that operators should adopt a generalised approach to their younger customers to avoid excessive losses among this player demographic.

“As far as I’m concerned, we should assume a (low) average income that is common for young people, with separate maximum limits for young adult players,” he concluded.

“Well, it is of course possible that young adult internet millionaires, TikTokers, YouTubers or other influencers feel disproportionately affected by such a measure. But I’m happy to take that risk.”