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Dutch plans for gambling harm expertise centre unveiled



The Dutch government is planning to introduce an independent expertise centre for the prevention of gambling harms in the first half of this year.

In a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives, the minister for legal protection, Franc Weerwind, said the centre would help consolidate and strengthen knowledge and expertise on gambling harms in the Netherlands.

He said that knowledge and expertise on gambling is, at present, “fragmented” and “needs improvement.”

The expertise centre would be operated by the Trimbos Institute, a provider of research, policy and practice-based advice.

Weerwind said the centre would help further share knowledge about the risks of gambling to “relevant professional parties” such as researchers, healthcare professionals and prevention workers.

“Additionally, I anticipate that with such an institute, continuous development of knowledge, research and monitoring in the field of gambling prevention in the Netherlands can be better ensured,” the minister said.

“Lastly, an expertise centre can play a significant role in improving government policy on addiction prevention in gambling.”

However, Weerwind stressed that the expertise centre, which he expects to commence operations in the first half of 2024, must be able to operate “independently of any interests” associated with gambling and gambling harms.

The Trimbos Institute will be tasked with developing the plan for establishing an expertise centre.

Elsewhere in his letter to the House of Representatives, Weerwind said he is “exploring” the possibility of establishing a “single, central information point for citizens” where they can find “independent and factual information about the risks of gambling.”

“This is necessary because the current information provision is primarily focused on people with gambling problems and less on, for example, recreational players and their surroundings,” Weerwind said.

“As also evident from the monitoring report on online gambling, a relatively large proportion, namely 21 per cent, of online players are aged 18 to 23.

“Young adults are thus overrepresented, which is highly concerning. It is particularly important to protect them from problematic or risky gaming behaviour, among other reasons, because their impulse control is not yet well developed, and they have more difficulty setting their own boundaries compared to older players.”

The UK government is also looking to safeguard younger players aged 18-23 by introducing online slot stake limits of £2, with players aged 25 and over set to be restricted to limits of £5 from September.

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