The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority, has recently updated its regulations regarding cashback bonuses, following violations by several licensed entities. The country’s gambling laws prohibit operators from offering cashback bonuses, which are designed to return a portion of players’ losses. Despite this, the KSA’s investigations revealed the existence of similar incentives that compensated players for losses in alternative forms.
During its inquiry, the KSA discovered three operators who were not adhering to these rules. A formal warning was issued to one operator for implementing a cashback bonus scheme, and two others were contacted regarding bonuses that were based on losses.
The KSA has expressed concern that such bonuses can lead to increased risk-taking among players. Specifically, it observed that players might gamble with larger amounts, knowing they could recover a part of their losses, which could deplete their funds more rapidly.
To address this issue, the KSA has refined the wording in its regulations to explicitly include any “bonus based on loss,” clearly stating that bonuses linked to gambling losses violate market regulations.
René Jansen, departing chairman of the KSA, emphasized the importance of player safety and the prevention of gambling addiction as primary goals for the regulator. He stated, “Players bet higher, take more risks and play more often, with all its consequences. At KSA, the interests of players are central. A safe gambling market and the prevention of gambling problems are high on our agenda. To protect players even better, we immediately clarify the definition as a basis for strict supervision. Any bonus that is in any way linked to a loss is prohibited.”
The crackdown on these prohibited bonus offers began last summer when the KSA first became aware of the rule infractions. The authority highlighted that such bonuses fall under advertising regulations and should not promote excessive gambling.
Following an initial directive in November 2022, which demanded that all Dutch igaming licensees cease offering cashback bonuses, the KSA sent out a letter to all licensees reiterating that cashback bonuses are forbidden due to their potential to encourage excessive gambling. Operators were required to confirm within a week that they were not offering such bonuses.
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