Ksa warns Dutch licensees of insufficient intervention practices

Licensees of the Dutch gaming market have been warned that they must intervene with additional urgency and efficiency when players exhibit behavioural traits that could indicate excessive gaming or a potential addiction. 

Following what is billed as an “extensive investigation” into the fulfilment of the duty of care at 10 providers, the country’s gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit, has also informed that it is working towards tightening its own policy based on conclusions and findings.  

This will see responsible gambling protocols be amended to include mandatory real-time monitoring and blocking of accounts that display concerning signs until an intervention has taken place.

In addition, supplementing rules on indicators that should be included in the assessment of gaming behaviour will also be included.

“The Ksa puts safe play first. We receive worrying signals and, as a supervisory authority, we investigate providers who may far exceed the limits of their duty of care,” René Jansen, Ksa Chair, commented.

“If we notice this, we will intervene. With this research we see where, outside of these signals, providers are not doing well. 

“Players must be able to assume that they can play safely. We see that rules need to be tightened, precisely to further promote a safe environment for players.”

Key findings

This latest study commenced in June 2022, with the investigation looking into the first 10 licence holders to offer online gambling when the market opened on October 1, 2021.

Headline findings include the aforementioned inability to intervene quickly, which the regulator has put down to “the monitoring methodology used to detect problem players, and the (in)ability to monitor in real time”.

This, it was added, is due to some licensees adopting an overly one-sided focus on the amount of deposits and bets made, with other factors, such as the number of hours played, “given less weight” and meaning that providers can overlook key warning signs.

In addition, it was also found that “young adults are sometimes less noticeable during monitoring” as they do not “reach certain limit values ​​due to set limits”.

This, the Ksa said, means that there are less interventions within the demographic, with a focus on wider factors, beyond size of deposits and bets, recommended once again. 

“Based on the results and conclusions of this study, the Ksa will start tightening its own policy,” the regulator said of the next steps to be taken. 

“The discussions with the permit holders reveal a shared wish to receive more guidance on how to fulfil the duty of care. [The] permit holders also requested a more uniform interpretation or clarification of certain standards, so that a more level playing field is created and they all comply with the same rules. 

“This wish will be taken into account where possible in the Ksa’s next steps. In addition to these follow-up steps, the Ksa has also investigated several signals or indications in its supervisory practice in the area of ​​inadequate compliance with the duty of care by providers.”

Cashback bonus investigation

This follows the Ksa beginning an investigation into outlawed cashback bonuses due to concerns that permit holders were not heeding prior warnings.

A recent signal regarding such an offer being on display by a licensed entity was received by the regulator, which subsequently terminated the violation after the authority stepped in.

In November 2022, all licensed providers of online gambling were ordered to stop providing bonuses in the form of cashback.