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The Netherlands’ Nationaal Rapporteur Verslavingen – National Rapporteur on Addictions – has issued 22 points of advice to the Dutch government regarding gambling in the country, including recommending the introduction of “mandatory overarching playing limits”.

The recommendations forwarded to the Ministry of Justice are featured in a recently publishedGambling with Health – Advice about online gambling’ report by the NRV’s Prof Dr Arnt FA Schellekens.

The advice is split across 10 sections: Access to data, Requirements for gambling providers, Prevention, Advertising and marketing, Early detection and connection to addiction care, Towards better care for people struggling with (online) gambling addiction, Research, Departmental division of tasks, Banks and International.

Regarding the mandatory overarching playing limits, the NRV has recommended that players set deposit, time, balance and loss limits, asking players to link their accounts across providers, mirroring safeguards implemented by Germany’s Interstate market as of 2021. 

The NRV has also asked for a fixed loss limit for everyone, even for those in which the loss limit is too low, as “the protection of vulnerable groups takes precedence over the interests of the wealthy individual”. It has also asked for a different set limit for young adults.

The other 21 points of advice the NRV has published within its report include:

  • Implementation of a structural, high-quality monitoring system to periodically monitor the incidence and prevalence of participation in online gambling and gambling-related harm.
  • Inclusion of gambling on the National Drug Monitor from the Trimbos Institute.
  • Broaden the perspective from excessive participation or risks of gambling addiction to the prevention of gambling damage in a broad sense, so that financial, relational, psychological, health-technical and social consequences are also included.
  • Creation of an addiction prevention policy guideline from independent experts.
  • Conduct a broad study into the effectiveness of various damage reduction measures with experts drawing up guidelines from the study for operators to abide by.
  • To ensure operator can be held liable for failure to properly carry out the duty of investigation and care.
  • Ban games with a demonstrably very high risk or set requirements to limit the risks.
  • Prevention experts, experience experts and risk analysts must be able to advise providers of online gambling on addiction prevention policy based on professional independence, by separating financing and commissioning and having this done via an intermediary organisation.
  • Investment into activities that raise awareness about the risks of gambling.
  • Consider if the addiction prevention fund can finance the development and implementation of effective preventive campaigns and interventions.
  • Further restrictions on advertising and marketing – similar to those of Belgium and Italy.
  • More visible and discoverable information about gambling risk on provider’s platforms.
  • Brand awareness investment for Loket Kansspel, Cruks and other forms of help.
  • Improve the process of early detection and guidance to help.
  • Improve cooperation between healthcare, gaming desk and providers.
  • Draw up a (multidisciplinary) guideline for the treatment of behavioural addictions and a quality standard aimed at screening, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Advise ZonMw Committee on the Prevention of Gambling Addiction to develop a research infrastructure, including multi-year consortium formation, for the implementation of the program to take with you.
  • Place responsibility for the prevention and addiction policy for gambling with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, which also has prevention and addiction policy with regard to other addictions.
  • Investigate options banks have to identify and prevent problematic gambling.
  • Learn from experiences abroad.

NRV makes its recommendations as the Netherlands prepares to contest a general election in November.