Make Deposit Limits Tougher To Reduce Burden, Say Dutch Advisors

May 9, 2024
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A Dutch government advisory board has criticised the “regulatory burden” of planned deposit limits and suggested that an inflexible low limit or a total advertising ban might be better solutions.
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A Dutch government advisory board has criticised the “regulatory burden” of planned deposit limits and suggested that an inflexible low limit or a total advertising ban might be better solutions.

The Dutch Advisory Board on Regulatory Burden (ATR) has called for the government to reopen its recently closed consultation on player limits and behaviour.

The consultation lays out plans by the government to set a default deposit limit for all players at €350 per month, or €150 per month for those aged under 24.

Higher limits are allowed, but only after a player contacts an operator directly to request an increase. 

The policy is designed to reduce gambling harm and prevent operators from circumventing the spirit of existing rules.

Regulations in the Netherlands already require all players to set a deposit limit upon registration, but the regulator has previously complained of cases where operators would set extremely high default amounts, effectively negating the limit for most players.

In its official advice to the government, the ATR said that the need for gamblers to get in contact with licence-holders to increase their limits would create an unwelcome burden for gambling businesses.

Firms will need to recruit and train new staff, it said, which may be difficult in the current labour market. 

It also notes that these staff may have a conflict of interest when asked to raise a gambler’s deposit limit between a duty of care to the consumer and the commercial interests of their employer.

The ATR also criticised the government for not adequately considering what it calls less burdensome approaches to limit gambling harm. Namely, it suggests that a fixed low deposit limit that cannot be adjusted or a ban on gambling advertising might also meet the government’s aims.

The consultation, the group said, should be reopened with the considerations in mind.

A non-binding motion to ban online gambling advertising has already been approved in the Dutch parliament and it is not yet known how the minister of justice will respond.

The minister is facing a wave of motions that call for various tough crackdowns on the gambling industry, as political sentiment appears to have severely soured in the Dutch parliament.

Minister Franc Weerwind publicly warned against many of the measures approved in motions over the past few months, including an effective ban on slots and tougher measures against offshore operators.

How the minister will approach the motions is still uncertain; however, he is likely to feel compelled to take some action, warned a local legal expert.

“It does increase political pressure on the minister to take action on online gambling and gambling advertising,” said Manuela Cox, an associate with the Bird & Bird law firm in The Hague.

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