Netherlands Strengthens Addiction Prevention Measures in Gambling Industry

The Netherlands is taking proactive steps to enhance addiction prevention efforts within its gambling sector. Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, recently announced plans to introduce new regulations aimed at addressing shortcomings in the existing system. This move comes in response to concerns raised by the Dutch regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), regarding inconsistencies in monitoring and safeguarding measures.

The KSA conducted an assessment of player protection measures implemented by online licensees, revealing inconsistent monitoring practices that posed significant risks to players. Minister Weerwind has recognized the urgency of rectifying these issues and is committed to tightening existing regulations to ensure the safety of gambling company customers.

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Minister Weerwind will present the proposed regulatory changes for consultation in early 2024, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable players. The evaluation of the Remote Gambling Act, scheduled for 2024, will further assess the effectiveness of current addiction prevention provisions, allowing for potential amendments.

Weerwind emphasized his commitment to closely monitoring the outcomes of various initiatives to ensure their effectiveness.

The Minister’s proposals gained support as members of Senate factions D66 and the Party for the Animals (PvdD) engaged in detailed discussions with him to determine the best course of action. The government has pledged to collaborate with the KSA and organizations like addiction advice body Jellinek to establish a comprehensive and transparent approach that creates a level playing field for all stakeholders.

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The Dutch government’s efforts to enhance addiction prevention measures will prioritize the safeguarding of vulnerable groups, including young adults. Recent data from July revealed that 23% of the 45,787 individuals registered in Cruks, the Netherlands’ self-exclusion scheme, were under the age of 25. The government plans to address this concern by increasing awareness of Cruks among target groups.

Additionally, a program developed by the Trimbos Institute, a specialist in addiction issues, will complement awareness campaigns by identifying and offering guidance for risky or problematic gambling behavior among young adults. This initiative will be introduced in schools, beginning in 2024, highlighting the government’s commitment to addressing addiction prevention at an early stage.

The recent KSA report served as a wake-up call for the Dutch government, prompting it to introduce stricter addiction prevention rules for gambling players. Recognizing the flaws in the current system, institutions are collaborating with industry stakeholders and gambling harm prevention organizations to implement necessary regulatory adjustments. The focus on vulnerable groups is seen as pivotal in enhancing the long-term health of the country’s gaming environment.

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