René Jansen, Ksa: I wonder whether we offer sufficient protection

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René Jansen, Chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, has voiced that he is in favour of tightening up the country’s duty of care after questioning if sufficient protection and safety is offered to players.

In a panel discussion at the European Association for the Study of Gambling in Oslo it was argued that tighter limits on behaviour and expenditure should be imposed by the government.

Furthermore, licensees are also urged to “go further than simply applying a limit,” with it noted that the current rules are not an “excuse to ‘sit back’ until a player has reached the deposit or loss limit”.

Jansen commented: “I increasingly wonder whether we offer sufficient protection and safety to players with the current interpretation of the duty of care.

“I see that the behaviour of gambling providers leaves a lot to be desired. Tightening up the duty of care is therefore not an unnecessary luxury and we can learn from other countries, but the ultimate choice lies with the legislator”.

The comments, which were also elaborated on in a blog post featured on the regulator’s site, sees Jansen cite recent research, undertaken by the Ksa, that examined the implementation of the duty of care to prevent gambling addiction in 21 European countries.

This was commissioned with a view to developing more insight into the way in which this is fulfilled in other European countries, as well as how the laws and regulations work with regard to playing limits.

This, noted Jansen, was due to concerns about the way in which games of chance providers in the Netherlands deal with such issues, which he added “became apparent” in a review at the House of Representatives that took place eight months after regulation.

Despite acknowledging that “the research shows that Dutch laws and regulations do not differ much from those in countries that have a statutory duty of investigation or care to protect the player,” it is said that “some countries go further in protecting players than we do”.

One example cited is with regards to applying maximum deposit limits or a stricter obligation to investigate and contact a player, with Dutch regulation currently seeing these free to be filled in by players.

In addition to asserting that “the Ksa also receives too many signals that this can be improved,” Jansen explained: “I advocate that we in the Netherlands also move in the direction of tighter limits on gambling behaviour and expenditure by means of a deposit limit prescribed by the government. 

“Providers have not shown enough of their own volition to be on the cautious side when it comes to protecting their customers. The vast majority of Dutch players simply do not have very large financial margins. A financial limit prevents excesses. 

“The exact height of a maximum limit is a tricky one, because we don’t want illegal providers to profit from too strong barriers to play. For the same reason, it should also be possible for players to deviate from the limit if they can demonstrate that they have sufficient resources.

“A combination of measures such as these (to be worked out in more detail) would also make the supervision of the Gaming Authority easier and therefore more effective, with the higher aim of ‘playing safe’! Choices in this area are, of course, only up to the legislator.”