Dutch Banks Reject Call To Help Gambling Firms

April 10, 2024
Dutch banks have said it is not their job to protect gambling consumers, amid calls for them to do more on responsible gambling and the black market.

Dutch banks have said it is not their job to protect gambling consumers, amid calls for them to do more on responsible gambling and the black market.

In comments broadcast on Dutch television and later repeated in an article on the website of national broadcaster NOS, a representative from the industry rejected calls for banks to monitor their customers’ gambling spend.

The comments come ahead of a planned meeting this week between banking officials and minister Franc Weerwind, called for by politicians, to see what the financial sector can do to support gambling regulation.

But Ronit van der Schaaf of the Dutch Banking Association said that it is not the banking industry’s responsibility to monitor players, citing privacy concerns.

"We see the scale of the number of people with problematic gambling debts, but we are surprised that the solution to these problems is left to the banks," van der Schaaf told NOS.

The government should instead look at policy interventions in other areas to limit gambling harm, he said.

"We see other solutions, such as limiting advertising and tackling cash gambling with your credit card. These solutions are faster, more effective and also cheaper," he said.

Banks in some other countries, such as the UK, offer the ability for customers to block gambling payments from within their account. According to NOS, banks in the Netherlands, with the exception of Revolut, say they have no plans to offer this feature.

A representative of the Dutch gambling industry pointed to the duty of care banks have for their customers under national law.

He also said that banks could be doing more to stop customers going to the black market.

“They can do something today to stop facilitating payments from Dutch clients to unlicensed gambling,” said Peter-Paul de Goeij, from the online gambling trade group NOGA.

He suggested that the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) already has powers to compel the banks to pay more attention to whether their customers are spending money on offshore gambling.

“Ideally the KSA doesn’t have to tell them,” he said, arguing that a whitelist of licensed online and land-based operators could be established for banks to refer to when tracking payments.

Gambling will re-enter the political spotlight this week during a short scheduled debate in parliament.

The industry has endured a torrid time in Dutch political circles in the past year and there looks likely to be no let up in pressure on the sector.

Political parties strongly opposed to gambling are set to introduce yet more motions, building on successful calls to ban untargeted advertising and a recently passed motion to impose an industry-wide monthly deposit limit.

In a newspaper editorial, politicians promised to introduce a motion that would ban political lobbying by gambling companies.

Banks even joined the chorus of voices calling for the Gambling Act to be rolled back, in comments on broadcaster NOS, arguing for a return to a time when only a handful of Dutch incumbent companies controlled the licensed market.

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