Dutch Regulator Continues To Address Duty Of Care Concerns In Latest Study

August 4, 2022
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There is little scientific evidence that voluntary limits are effective in preventing risky behaviour, according to a review undertaken by the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA).

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There is little scientific evidence that voluntary limits are effective in preventing risky behaviour, according to a review undertaken by the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA).

“The mandatory setting of limits, as is the case in the Netherlands, among others, seems more effective. This increases if the player is presented with a 'free' entry field, instead of, for example, a drop-down menu,” according to the KSA. A "free" entry field allows consumers to put in whatever figure they want as opposed to a suggested one.

The findings were part of a wider study commissioned by the KSA into the duty of care policies and playing limits implemented in Europe, which concluded there are major differences across jurisdictions.

“Mutual consultation and coordination can contribute to the [further] development of a gambling policy in which the protection of players is central,” according to the study.

In a response to the survey, the KSA called on online operators to look through the findings and use them to better protect their customers.

It follows an announcement by the KSA in June 2022 of a new wave of enforcement to improve on what it has deemed as failings by operators to meet their duty of care.

The study was formed by a questionnaire that was mailed to 60 gambling regulators of 28 European countries through the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF) network. Only 21 of the countries responded to the questionnaire.

The research itself was conducted independently by addiction expert Dr. Gert-Jan Meerkerk, a lecturer at the University of Utrecht and a research partner of the KSA.

Exactly half of the respondent's countries have a duty of care guideline requiring licensees to monitor gambling behavior and to intervene if there are signs of problematic gambling.

Additionally, 45 percent of the countries have voluntary limit settings for gamblers and 45 percent have mandatory limits, while 10 percent still have no prescribed limits at all.

When looking at the results of the study, the KSA announced that it will look “more closely” at countries that “go further” than the Netherlands with regard to player protection.

For instance, the KSA highlighted Spain's mandatory deposit limit that applies to a single gambling provider was highlighted as a reason why gambling participation is “de facto more strictly regulated” than in the Netherlands.

A broad study into the implementation of the duty of care by online operators is expected to be completed in Spring 2023.

Separately, 20,000 people have signed up to be self-excluded for at least six months since the launch of the Central Register of Excluded Gamblers (CRUKS) on October 1, 2021.

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