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Dutch addiction study warns of fast rise in Problem Gambling

Dutch market analyst LADIS has released a new report warning that the number of problem gamblers in the Netherlands is on the rise. 

The study summarises the different levels of problematic consumer behaviour, covering the rate of abuse of various substances, as well as excessive gambling, over the period between 2018 and 2023. 

Categorising the harm levels based on cause and percentage across the population, LADIS found that gambling holds fifth place in terms of problem behaviour, gripping 3.8% of Dutch citizens. 

First is alcohol with 44.9%, followed by cannabis (15.3%), cocaine (12.3%), and opiate abuse (11.8%). 

Still, in 2023 problem gambling had by far the biggest growth rate YoY compared to all other categories, jumping by 24.2% when matched against the numbers from 2022. 

“This increase is also visible among the institutions that supplied data throughout the period,” LADIS commented.

The second specified category of abuse was medicine with 11.9%, while the percentage under the unspecified group, i.e. “other behavioural disorders”, was anchored at 14.6%. 

Based on data submitted from problem gambling treatment centres, 54% of people who asked for support have also struggled with gambling before, while 46% were admitted to treatment for the first time. 

Divided by gender, the overwhelming majority (88%) are men, while 75% are between the ages of 25 and 55. A total of 17% have said to be under 25. 

Moreover, 44% of those facing harmful gambling have also been found to have a substance abuse disorder, with alcoholism (44%) being the most widely spread among problem gamblers. No secondary disorder was found in the rest 56% of the cases. 

Out of all the types of gambling, online gaming has seen the biggest increase in customer activity between 2018 and 2023. The sector has grown at a particularly quick pace since 2021, when a new regulated market was launched under the Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act).

SBC News Dutch addiction study warns of fast rise in Problem Gambling
Share of online gaming

“Although the location of gambling is rarely registered, among those where this is known, there has been an increase in online gambling in particular,” LADIS concluded. 

The Netherlands is currently in the process of reforming the KOA Regime, which is set to enforce stricter player protection measures from 1 October, including affordability checks, in-game warnings and greater one-to-one customer care interventions. 

So far, the reform was spearheaded by Franc Weerwind, who used to be the Legal Protections Minister from 2022 before the position, together with Weerwind, was removed under the newly-formed Schoof cabinet. 

Weerwind’s duties will be headed by Teun Struycken, who will take on the role of a State Secretary to oversee the gambling sector once the updated KOA policies are in place.

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