SBC News KOA on the ropes as reformists win motions to ban online slots and gambling advertising

KOA on the ropes as reformists win motions to ban online slots and gambling advertising

A vote taking place at the Kamer this afternoon saw Dutch MPs approve motions to ban online gambling advertising and implement a further ban on ‘high risk’ online casino games.

Both motions were put forward by Socialist Party (SP) MP Michiel van Nispen, as part of the Kamer’s ongoing revision of the Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act), the legislative framework adopted in October 2021 to regulate the Netherlands’ online gambling marketplace.

The Kamer has been instructed to review 114 motions proposed by MPs to amend KOA market laws, standards and protections of which 14 were voted on this afternoon.

Van Nispen’s first motion to impose a ‘total ban on online gambling advertising’ secured 70 out of 150 MP votes, failing to gain an outright majority but approved due to ministerial absences.

Of significance, the vote sees the Kamer reverse its previous stance on the matter having rejected in February a motion by CDA MP Derk Boswijk “to investigate a total ban on gambling advertisements”.

As such, the vote sees the Kamer favour imposing a blanket ban on all gambling advertisements as KOA amendments applied in July 2023 enforced a ban on gambling advertising on the ‘public platforms’ of TV, radio, print and outdoor media.

Addressing MPs, Van Nispen stated: “The KOA market is sick through and through. Every day that these companies continue their bad practices, more people become addicted to gambling.

“As far as we are concerned, it is the end of the story for gambling companies without morals. A ban on online gambling advertisements is another step forward towards a country without bad gambling companies.”

Van Nispen would claim a second victory as 79 MPs voted in favour of “banning online games with a demonstrably high risk”. The motion pinpointed online slots as a vertical in which players have “no control over the outcome.”

As reported by Casinonieuws.nl, both of Van Nispen’s motions were supported by the parties of ChristenUnie, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), New Social Contract (NSC), Reformist Party (SGP) and SP who together have long sought to reform or ditch the KOA market since its inception in 2021.

The SP party declared a victory for reformists, stating: “the House of Representatives today approved an SP proposal to also put an end to online gambling advertisements. Since the introduction of the gambling law in 2021, hundreds of thousands of new gamblers have arrived in our country.”

Further motions were approved to “tighten KOA permit controls”, authorise the use of fake IDs for gambling authority Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) to use as an inspection tool of licences and to display games of chance risk profiles for customers.

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.

Attention will turn to Legal Protections Minister Franc Weerwind, who carries the mandate to reorganise the KOA Market and whether he will proceed to determine laws banning gambling advertising and online slots outright.

Today’s vote will see the KOA market face further scrutiny from reformists, who in February secured motions to impose a universal loss limit across all 27 KOA-licensed operators and to impose tougher compliance penalties of 10% of turnover for gambling companies that violate laws and standards.

Minister Weerwind responded by stating that the government will keep its agenda of KOA reforms, in which a consultation is underway to test inbound compulsory monthly financial risk checks for player accounts that spend over €350.

Further protections endorsed by the Ministry of Justice will see the KOA market introduce a loss limit, applied to a €150 spending restriction on the gambling accounts of customers under the age of 24.

Despite its revision, the existence of the KOA market remains under threat, as the CDA party is drafting a ‘private members bill’ to terminate the Act deemed as an “abject failure in its primary objective to protect national consumers and the vulnerable from gambling addiction.”

Whether ditched or retained, the KOA Act is facing unprecedented changes across all legislative components, compelling Dutch operators to navigate a reversal in the framework that initially launched the market in 2021.

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