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New Dutch player protection measures announced



The Dutch government is stepping up its player protection efforts with a raft of new measures for the gambling industry.

In introducing the package of announcements, the Netherlands’ Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind said he has “observed worrisome and undesirable developments” in the igaming market since relaunch in late 2021.

The new measures, which the government aims to begin consulting on in February and to introduce by the end of 2024, include changes around deposit limits and operator contact with players.

There are planned deposit limits of €350 for adults and €150 for young adults. If a player wants to set a deposit limit of more than €350 per month, or €150 for young adults, the operator must contact the player and outline the risks of losing their money as well as providing information about gambling support networks and the Cruks self-exclusion register.

The government also said it wants players to be able to set deposit limits in a “neutral environment” without “pre-filled options and without images of or positive associations with gambling.”

Providers must also inform players if they can choose a lower bet than the standard amount entered, and notifications should alert players to their limits every 30 minutes for the duration of their gaming session.

If a limit is reached, the new rules stipulate that the player must be logged out immediately.

“This also offers the player an extra moment to reflect on his playing behaviour,” the government said.

Weerwind admits urgency of new measures

Weerwind, who is responsible for overseeing the igaming industry in the Netherlands, said the “current situation” in the Dutch industry has left him “compelled” to intervene before a formal review of the industry is carried out next year.

Weerwind said in his letter to parliament: “The current law is based on principles with a high level of abstraction, and I see that providers are taking too much leeway and not adequately taking responsibility to protect players.

“I consider it necessary to better protect players, as the foregoing can lead to problems such as debts, problematic behaviour and gambling addiction. This is all the more concerning because a relatively large number of young adults engage in online gambling.

“At the same time, it is important that people who want to gamble online can do so in a licensed environment with legal safeguards and supervision, and they are not forced to gamble in an illegal environment without any protection.”

Weerwind added: “Currently, some players are not encouraged to consciously set limits but rather stimulated to make reckless choices, such as setting play limits in time and money too high.

“The player is not adequately informed about the risks of gambling and the importance of setting limits. The legal premise is that the player is responsible for their own gaming behaviour and setting its limits.11 However, players must be able to responsibly determine their limits. This is precisely where there are shortcomings in practice.”

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