René Jansen: KOA needs deeper surveillance

René Jansenoutgoing Chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has offered insights on some of his most recent work with the regulator.

In a blog post, Jansen issued a statement saying that the risks associated with the online gambling market in the Netherlands “are growing”. 

According to the Chair, this is evidenced by the growing number of people exhibiting harmful gambling behaviour, which has even occurred with professional sports players.

Therefore, the KSA must look at specific cases as the first stepping stone to handling problem gambling, and that the next step for the regulator is to take a comprehensive look “at the market from above”.

Jansen also touched upon the Dutch Consumers’ Association’s conclusion that the KSA doesn’t have enough knowledge of what is happening “behind the front door” of operators, and that more covert measures are needed to be implemented in order to strengthen the regulator’s supervision. 

One such measure is the provision of ‘false ID certificates’, which the KSA believes will allow its inspectors to present as regular customers and watch closely over potential breaches of the law.

“Due to lack of access to fake ID receipts (linked to fake bank accounts), KSA inspectors do not get ‘veiled’ access to legal gambling sites and cannot make deposits, so that they cannot participate in gambling games themselves,” Jansen explained.

This was also previously brought to Legal Minister Franc Weerwind, when the KSA asked for the implementation of relevant regulatory amendments ahead of the revision of the Remote Gambling Act (KOA) expected to be finalised this year.

“I don’t want to ignore it (use of fake ID), because we could work much more decisively with the help of ‘mystery shopping’. Precisely because we then have a better understanding of the (marketing) techniques that providers use to bring in and retain players,” Jansen added.

“I have already indicated it before: the great (negative) attention to the market arises partly from the own actions of online providers. In many cases, excesses can only occur because the player with loss of control is given the opportunity to continue playing. Because a provider does not intervene quickly enough, or does not take the right measures.

“I am still convinced of the added value of a legal market, but it is primarily up to the providers to make that happen. Not only providers, the Ksa itself also has to live up to its role in this of course. Our commitment will be to scale that up in the coming months. Because whether you look close-up or with a bird’s eye view, safe playing should always be paramount.”

Jansen’s current tenure expires in October this year, with his KSA Chairman duties being passed on to Michel Groothuizen in July.