Dutch schools launch €8m project to teach gambling harms

The government of the Netherlands has approved an €8m education programme to teach “money matters, debt, and understanding risks” across Dutch schools.

The programme is spearheaded by Minister Carola Schouten, who oversees Dutch policies for poverty prevention, social participation, and civic pensions.

Schouten outlined that the programme has been designed to improve financial literacy in schools as a means to protect Dutch youth from incurring debt and to ensure that money management is taught at a critical learning age.

The programme’s curriculum will primarily fund the training of teachers, empowering them to educate students about critical financial matters they will face once they are financially independent.

Significantly, Schouten confirmed that the programme would contain an “emphasis on understanding the risks of online gambling and cryptocurrency investments”.

Research by Nibud found that over a quarter of vocational students had debts or faced payment arrears, a statistic that the government hopes to alleviate with this initiative.

Following its initial test phase, Schouten will aim to expand the programme across all Dutch primary and secondary schools from 2024 onwards.

“This programme not only seeks to equip young people with important financial skills but also to create a support network within the school and community for those facing financial difficulties,” Schouten detailed to Dutch media.

The Dutch government’s concerns about gambling exposure to underage children have seen it sanction a ban on “untargeted gambling advertising,” to be imposed from 1 July.

The ban will restrict gambling advertising to pre-approved campaigns that demonstrate a minimum of 95% of their exposures reach consumers aged 24 or older.

These combined efforts signal a firm commitment from the Dutch government to tackle financial illiteracy and the risks associated with online gambling while promoting safe and informed financial behaviours amongst its younger population.