René Jansen, Ksa: problem gambling is a major social concern

“Playing responsibly also means stopping responsibly. If you really want to gamble, do so safely. If you really want to stop, take a gambling stop,” concluded René Jansen in his latest address.

This time the Chair of the Kansspelautoriteit was marking the Center for Responsible Gaming’s tenth anniversary; elaborating on the role that all stakeholders have to play in making a thriving a safe digital environment a possibility.

“I am not telling you anything new when I tell you that problem gambling is a major social concern,” he began.

“A concern that explicitly looks at providers and the Gaming Authority, as supervisor. The consequences of a gambling addiction can be very serious and far-reaching. 

“Both financially and socially and spiritually. And not only for the person who is struggling with the addiction, but also for the family and loved ones.

“It is therefore only natural that the gambling policy is built around the principle that players must be able to play safely.”

Moving on, the chief of the Ksa, which itself boasts over ten years of experience, elaborated on the process of licensee compliance, as well as promoting addiction prevention, including by supervising the duty of care from permit holders.

“Unfortunately, we have seen examples that raise questions about how some providers deal with their duty of care”

In the online space, the regulator has already found itself busy through 2023 with a pair of enforcement actions undertaken.

Firstly, a fine of €900,000 was imposed on Shark77, before JOI Gaming was last week fined €400,000 for violations regarding the group’s Jacks.nl online sports betting and igaming brand.

Following these actions, Jansen delves deeper into the responsibilities of licence holders in ensuring a safe environment, with a closer look first offering into the duty of care that licence holders have.

This means that they are obliged to take adequate measures aimed at preventing addiction and excessive gambling, that could result in large financial losses. 

Certificate holders, said the Ksa, must intervene with players who display risky and harmful gaming behaviour. This requires effective systems for monitoring, detection and intervention. 

“I expressly challenge providers not only to look at the legal interpretation of the concept of duty of care in the Betting and Gaming Act, but to take the intention of the legislator as a starting point: offering a safe gambling environment in which players are well protected on the moment they lose their control, their self-control,” Jansen commented.

“Unfortunately, we have seen examples that raise questions about how some providers deal with their duty of care. We’ve stated it many times before. 

“Playing responsibly also means stopping responsibly. If you really want to gamble, do so safely. If you really want to stop, take a gambling stop”

“This concerns excessive financial losses among players – tens of thousands of euros – in a short period of time, without decisive intervention by the provider concerned. 

“The Ksa is therefore fully engaged in a broad investigation into compliance with the duty of care by permit holders. The first results will be announced in the course of this spring and we will take follow-up actions where necessary.”

In addition, a light was also shed on the central register of exclusion from games of chance (Cruks), which permits players to register themselves here if they notice that their gaming behaviour is or is becoming problematic.

“And this can be an important first step towards help and treatment for addiction problems,” he continued. It has now become clear that Cruks is a good instrument that contributes to a safe gambling climate.” 

Since its establishment, more than 32,000 players have registered with Crucks for a period of at least six months, however, Jansen noted that despite this “we were and are not completely satisfied with the site”.

To this end, a redesign and redevelopment project was undertaken that will witness Cruks 2.0 become available during this coming summer.

“And that brings me to the end of my speech and back to the point I started with, namely the importance of responsible and therefore safe gaming,” he concluded.

“I hope and trust that on this day we not only look back on 10 years of Center for Responsible Gaming, but also look forward to a successful future. Successful then means: Playing responsibly also means stopping responsibly. If you really want to gamble, do so safely. If you really want to stop, take a gambling stop! We can all contribute to making this possible and easy.”