René Jansen, chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, has issued a warning to the country’s digital incumbents that if they “do not take sufficient responsibility, the government will at some point”.
The comments come amid opposition fear at a potential increase in the number of individuals addicted to gambling following the launch of the region’s online ecosystem on October 1, 2021.
Should the aforementioned responsibility be neglected, Jansen shares a “cautious assessment” that the Netherlands could follow a similar path to the one trodden in Sweden, and implement lowered deposit limited and stricter controls on advertising.
Jansen cites what he calls a “balanced” news item that aired in the region when examining industry inducements, which he adds carried a central message “that online gambling companies seem to do a lot to entice players to continue playing”.
“Enticing consumers has, of course, been around as long as trade has been conducted,” he comments in a Ksa blog. “Visible and invisible. At online gambling sites, we see that by making the online contact personal, because a connection is sought, there are ‘pop-ups’, you are asked at the ‘right’ times whether you want to deposit, et cetera.
“In a general sense, I would like to say to gambling providers: do not look for the edges, because that will turn against you.
“Everyone understands that you operate in a commercial market and that you have to compete. But you are offering a risky product and with that you bear a major – also social – responsibility.”
Jansen also moves on to look at playing limits, with Dutch law stating a player must set these in terms of both maximum losses and time spent on site.
However, he acknowledges that in the aforementioned news item “we saw that if a player is older than 23 years, they can also opt for playing limits of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 100,000 euros per day”.
Jansen adds: “Strictly speaking, a provider does nothing wrong with this. Nevertheless, I would like to call on the providers of online games of chance to look at this quickly and carefully. It may not be to the letter, but it is to the spirit of the law to limit the limits to be set.
“Corporate social responsibility also has a moral side. In addition, I cannot imagine that limits such as those mentioned here are necessary to compete with illegal gambling sites.”