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KOA Play Limits to be applied from 1 October 

New mandatory playing limit safeguards will be applied to the Dutch KOA market from 1 October 2024.

The announcement sees the Dutch government conclude its consultation, initiated in December 2023 by outgoing Legal Protections Minister Franc Weerwind on new safeguards and preventative measures of the Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act). 

The safeguards form part of a ‘new protective scheme’, in which operators must ensure that customers have set their individual limits on gambling spend.

Headline measures will see KOA-licensed operators impose mandatory checks on monthly deposit limits of €350 on player accounts above the age of 25. For player accounts under-25, operators must ensure checks of deposit limits of €150 per month.

The consultation applied the recommendation of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) – the Netherlands Gambling Authority- to impose a maximum deposit limit of €700 for adult accounts and €300 for under 25s.

Players who choose to apply the maximum deposit threshold must have a ‘one-to-one contact moment’ with trained customer care staff.

By 1 October, all KOA-licensed operators must ensure that technical safeguards have been applied to their gambling platforms, as customers must be notified of their risk profiles and spend.

Safeguards on customer interactions have been applied to overhaul how games of chance are promoted to customers. Minister Weerwind’s consultation detailed that “KOA licenses will promote more conscious gaming behaviour by setting gaming limits.”

Operators must ensure that customers are alerted via pop-up messages of their spending limits and behavior every 30 minutes. Furthermore, customers must be notified when spending limits reach 50% and 100%, and must be logged out of the account once limits are reached.

Customers will only be allowed to lower deposit limits, as increasing limits will incur a seven-day waiting period before changes can take effect.

New customer care duties will require KOA licensees to ensure one-on-one personal contact with addiction prevention-trained staff as a requirement before limits can be processed. The customer care contact must occur via telephone or the gaming interface and cannot be simulated by automated processes such as a chatbot.

Staff involved in customer care engagement must inform players of the possibility of exclusion from gambling through registration in the Central Register for the Exclusion of Games of Chance (CRUKS).

Inbound changes for October saw the Ministry of Justice warn that “license holders are required to adjust their systems to comply with the new regulations, including providing clear and understandable information to players about their gaming limits and ensuring contact moments with addiction prevention-trained staff for players setting high deposit limits.”

KSA backs the new protective scheme of the KOA market, in which the regulator carried out an implementation test and found the regulation feasible and enforceable from 1 October.

The consultation on safeguards saw Minister Weerwind address concerns of channelization rates of the KOA market, in which he responded, “channelization is not an end in itself but serves the purpose of steering players towards legal and regulated gambling offers.”

Weerwind branded safeguards as ‘balanced’ as monthly deposit limits are viewed as unobtrusive measures on recreational customers that do not “significantly impact the gaming experience or the attractiveness of legal gambling offerings, thus maintaining effective channelization.”

“The regulation mandates a neutral choice architecture to help players make informed decisions without undue influence, supporting effective channelization to legal providers.”

Ending his tenure as Legal Protections Minister, Weerwind will complete the first phase of the KOA market’s reorganization. However, gambling reforms continue to be proposed in the Kamer (Parliament).

In April, Dutch reformists approved new motions to impose an outright ban on gambling advertising across all mediums and a further ban on high-risk games.

The statute of the Netherlands allows for MPs to propose motions to be voted on by the Kamer. However, approved motions are not guaranteed as they must be converted into administrative law and approved by the Senate.

As it stands, Dutch gambling has no assigned minister, as the new four-party coalition government chose to terminate the role of Legal Protection Minister, under the Ministry of Justice.

Further anxieties see the coalition government yet to confirm its fiscal budget plan, which has outlined increasing gambling taxes from 30.5% to 37.8% – marked as a ‘structural increase’ to net €200m in yearly tax revenues from Dutch gambling licenses.

Adopting new safeguards, the KOA market enters a further adjustment period, as operators continue to wait on settlements related to tax and further regulatory duties. 

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