Rene Jansen KSA

KSA highlights duty-of-care concerns in 2022 report

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Netherlands Gambling Authority, has published its ‘Annual Report’ for 2022, which evaluates the regulatory management and policy directives of the first full year of the KOA market. 

The report noted: “The Remote Gambling Act (KOA) came into force on 1 April 2021. From that moment on, parties could submit an application for an online gambling license. Six months later, on October 1, 2021, the legal online market opened.”

KSA’s evaluation is focused on the four criteria of advertising, duty-of-care, tackling Illegal activities, and first market developments.

Since KOA launched on 1 October 2021, KSA has granted 24 licences, of which 21 have been assigned to B2C operators allowed to promote games of chance.

KSA stands by its strict licensing policies, in which it requires businesses to obey its “cooling-off command” of +2 years of no market activities, applied as an assessment of new applicants.

The cooling-off command saw a number of high-profile applicants denied initial access to the market including Entain Plc , Kindred Group and LeoVegas AB.

At the beginning of 2022, KSA had warned licensees that it would undertake a tougher monitoring of advertising campaigns to ensure coverage was sustainable, to protect young audiences and to improve standards ahead of World Cup 2022.

The regulator cited that in the first months of 2022, it was forced to intervene in campaigns as “several providers crossed the line when advertising. Sometimes as a result of unfamiliarity with the rules, sometimes because they deliberately pushed the boundaries”.

Policy changes saw KSA enforce a “ban on role models” from 30 June 2022, in which gambling advertising campaigns could no longer feature professional athletes, celebrities or social media influencers.

Further restrictions applied during the year, saw the KOA market adopt a ban on the promotion of cashback bonuses or money-back incentives.

Policing illegal activities during 2022, the regulator conducted 277 preliminary investigations into illegal online websites, leading to 26 investigations into illegal online providers.

KSA received 83 notifications about illegal gambling advertisements on social media in 2022, which was a 71% decrease compared to 2021. Out of these, 59 were examined and violations were detected in 16 of them.

Over the course of the year 18 intention orders, which were subject to periodic penalty payments, were implemented. As a result, seven fines totaling €29m were issued.

2O22 saw KSA evaluate how duty-of-care is observed by licensed operators and how they fulfil their duties and obligations with regard to customer interventions and safer gambling engagements. 

The assessment focused on “the record-keeping and analysis of gaming behaviour, monitoring of player activities, and intervention procedures”. 

KSA used data from audit databases, permit holders’ files, and policy documents to gain insights into providers’ operations and take corrective or punitive measures as needed. The study is set to conclude in the first half of 2023.

The regulator concluded that “not all online providers take their duty of care equally seriously.” However, its concerns are “not exclusively Dutch; in 2022, an international study into the practice of the duty of care in Europe will also be published”. 

Since H1 2022, KSA Chairman René Jansen ordered an “intensification in the supervision of duty-of-care”, in which operators detail policy plans on customer interventions and how safety controls are implemented.  

Jansen cited “mixed feelings” at the progress of the KOA market. “In recent months, I have often been asked how I look back on 2022 as the first full calendar year in which online games of chance were offered legally in the Netherlands,” he said. “My short answer is: with mixed feelings

“Much is going well, but as a supervisor, I also see points where improvement is needed. Much still needs to be done – primarily among the licensees – to do full justice to our mission of Playing Safe.”

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