SBC News René Jansen: KOA operators must embrace VPF and Loket protections 

René Jansen: KOA operators must embrace VPF and Loket protections 

René Jansen, outgoing Chairman of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Netherlands Gambling Authority, has stood up for the tighter scrutiny of the Dutch online gambling market.   

Jansen, who last week announced his inbound retirement as Chairman of KSA in January 2024, backed tougher regulatory demands on duty-of-care, record keeping and the monitoring of advertising campaigns.

Writing a blog titled: “Gambling addiction: prevention is better than cure”, Jansen recognised that the developments of Dutch online gambling marketplace have gained significant media coverage.

Of concern to the public is ‘the size and growth of the market and the number of players on the one hand, and the behaviour of providers in that growing market on the other’, he explained.

From a regulatory standpoint, it is a challenge to accurately estimate the number of new and existing players due to the previous prevalence of illegal gambling prior to the launch of the KOA marketplace on 1 October 2021.  

As such, KSA governing of the KOA market has succeeded in the initial objective of attracting Dutch consumers to play with legal providers. The second phase of KOA has focused on the tougher endeavours of strengthening licensees’ customer protections and care-of-duty responsibilities.

Licensed operators are expected to ensure a safe playing environment by monitoring for potential gambling harms and intervening should there be a risk of excessive gambling, addiction or other related problems. 

Jansen highlighted the Addiction Prevention Fund (VPF) and Loket Kansspel as two specific initiatives overseen by KSA to reduce problem gambling harms and addiction.

Founded in 2021 with the launch of the KOA marketplace, VPF is financed by contributions collected from high-risk games of chance such as slots gambling machines and online gambling.

“The fund (is) there to ensure that it remains ‘a recreational game’ and to support gamblers who have not been able to do so,” Jansen explained.

“The VPF provides anonymous treatment of gambling addiction were possible, further promoting the prevention and limitation of addiction, providing education and information about addiction and conducting research into it. 

Funded by the VPF, Loket Kansspel is Dutch gambling’s revamped 24-hour treatment support service providing help via telephone, online chatrooms and WhatsApp offering support and referral services to those in need.

The KSA will support VPF and Loket Kansspel in the coming months by launching new pilot projects for risk awareness. Upcoming projects will focus on updating e-learning modules for professionals, incorporating a gambling awareness module into secondary school curricula, and publishing a guide on for financial guidance related to gambling risks.

The KSA respects discussions by licensees and stakeholders on how the Dutch gambling market is being reshaped in which the regulator prioritises the consequences of player safety.

Dutch incumbents were urged to embrace the addiction prevention and consumer safety initiatives of the VPF, Loket Kansspel and KSA upcoming projects.

Jansen concluded: “The Netherlands has a regulated gambling market based on the idea that gambling has always existed, illegal online gambling has already taken place on a large scale and that this is therefore better done within good frameworks. 

“This undeniably includes the fact that the regulated market offers a safety net for people for whom this does not work out well, and that preventing gambling problems is therefore high on the agenda.

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