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Netherlands Rapporteur recommends “Casino play limits like Germany”

 The Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands has been recommended to introduce ‘mandatory playing limits’ on casino games by the National Rapporteur on Addictions (NRV).

The recommendation on playing limits forms part of “22 opinions” submitted to the Ministry of Justice on “gambling limits, advertising and addiction prevention policies” by the national research agency’s ‘Gambling on Health – Advice Report’. 

As proposed by Dr Arnt FA Schellekens, the Dutch government should seek to impose an “overarching playing limit system” mirroring Germany’s Fourth Interstate gambling regime.

Of significance, Schellekens’ recommendation contradicts the current stance of Legal Protections Minister Franc Weerwind. Overseeing Dutch gambling policies, Weerwind has cited consumer privacy concerns and high technical demands on imposing playing limits deemed as ‘not an option’ for the KOA market. 

Schellekens argued that a ‘uniformed protection system’ should be applied on Dutch gambling’s 21 licensed online casinos, to priortise a systematic approach in the management and protection of consumers. 

Though recommending ‘uniformed playing limits’, the NRV report acknowledges potential channelization issues, suggesting a ‘customisable playing limit’ be applied on individual customers via proof of affordability.

On ‘industry liability’, the NRV proposes holding licensed operators accountable for gambling-related damages to customers should they neglect proper investigation and duty of care, pointing to Austria’s legislation as a benchmark.

The report cites: “Austrian legislation has an active investigation, duty of care and affordability check by the permit holder. If there is a suspicion of excessive gaming behaviour, the licence holder is obliged to check whether the player can afford his gambling behaviour. If the licence holder fails to do so, the licence holder is liable for the damage caused by the excessive gambling behaviour.”

For the KOA market’s ongoing policy review, measures of greater liability on duty-of-care have been outlined by Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) Chairman, René Jansen.

The management of online casino games was further highlighted. The Ministry of Justice was recommended to review all “high risk games” available in the KOA marketplace.

The review should aim to ‘restrict-or-ban’ player access to games “where the player has no influence on winning such as fruit machines” – which researchers deemed as online gambling’s addictive product. 

 Further advertising restrictions were recommended by the NRV which detailed that “exposure to be limited only to those actively seeking gambling information”.

On advertising, the Rapporteur noted a “clear relationship between exposure to advertising and a higher participation in gambling” where consumers should be warned of health consequences in which “the ban on tobacco advertising serves as an example.”

Regulatory changes implemented from 1 July saw all KOA licensed operators abide by the new laws on ‘untargeted advertising’ applied across all media platforms.     

As such, Dutch gambling advertising has been restricted to direct mails, on-demand TV advertising, social media and online platforms. All campaigns must ensure a visibility that “95% of their audience is 24 years or older.”

NRV makes its recommendations as the Netherlands prepares to contest a General Election on 1 November. Ministerial changes are anticipated across all key departments, following the collapse of the governing four-party coalition in July over asylum reforms backed by the VVD Party.

The Collapse saw PM Mark Rutte resign, ending his 13-year premiership, choosing to take no part in the upcoming election as VVD’s leader.  

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