Dutch Regulator Calls for Stricter Measures to Combat Problem Gambling
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has issued a stern warning to online gambling operators, urging them to take more proactive measures to prevent and address problem gambling and potential gambling addictions.
This plea comes in the wake of an extensive investigation into the compliance of 10 online gambling providers operating in the Dutch market.
Intervention and Monitoring
The KSA’s investigation revealed a troubling lack of swift and effective interventions by many of the examined operators in cases of excessive gambling or signs of addiction. This concerning trend, according to the KSA, is partly attributed to inadequate monitoring methods for identifying problem gamblers in real time.
Some operators primarily focus on changes in gambling behavior, failing to promptly recognize players who consistently make large deposits, wagers, or incur significant losses from the outset. Additionally, an overemphasis on the amounts deposited and wagered, with less consideration given to factors like the number of hours played, has resulted in operators overlooking potential problem gamblers.
Moreover, many operators lack the capability to intervene without staff intervention, leading to delayed responses in addressing problematic gambling behaviors, even during nighttime hours.
The KSA’s investigation also evaluated how operators catered to young adult players aged 18 to 24. While most licensed operators implement additional limits for this demographic, there were concerns that young adults, due to their lower betting limits, may not trigger monitoring statistics promptly, potentially leaving problem gambling cases undetected.
The KSA emphasized the importance of considering factors beyond deposit and wager amounts to identify and intervene with problem gamblers in a timely manner.
Steps to Enhance Responsible Gaming Efforts
As a result of their findings, the KSA has outlined several key steps to enhance responsible gaming efforts:
Mandatory Real-Time Monitoring: Operators will be required to implement real-time monitoring systems to promptly identify and address problematic gambling behaviors.
Expansion of Behavioral Indicators: The KSA will augment the rules governing the use of indicators when assessing player behavior to encompass a broader range of factors.
Account Blocking for Problem Gamblers: Operators will be obligated to block accounts of identified problem gamblers until appropriate interventions have been undertaken.
Additionally, the KSA has advised the Ministry of Justice & Security to consider necessary amendments to current laws and regulations to further strengthen the protection of gamblers. The regulator will also continue to conduct ongoing investigations into operators suspected of neglecting their duty to prevent and mitigate gambling-related harm.
René Jansen, Chairman of Kansspelautoriteit, emphasized their commitment to ensuring safe gambling, stating, “The KSA prioritizes safe play. We receive concerning signals and conduct investigations into operators who may be exceeding the boundaries of their duty of care. With this investigation, we have identified areas where operators are falling short. Players must be confident that they can gamble safely. We see that regulations need to be tightened to further enhance this safe environment for players.”
The KSA’s call for more stringent responsible gaming measures reflects a growing global awareness of the need to protect vulnerable players and combat problem gambling within the online gambling industry.