Dutch Gaming Authority Demands More Interventions from Operators
The Dutch gaming authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has emphasized that licensees need to take swift and effective action when they notice players displaying behaviors suggestive of excessive gaming or potential addiction.
This statement came after what has been described as an "extensive investigation" into the responsibility practices of 10 providers in the Dutch gaming market. Based on its findings, KSA is in the process of refining its safer gambling policies.
Focusing on Real-Time Monitoring and Safe Play
KSA’s revised guidelines require real-time monitoring of players. Any accounts that show worrying behaviors will be blocked until proper intervention has occurred. Moreover, there will be an expansion of the rules that stipulate which indicators to consider when evaluating gaming behaviors.
The KSA puts safe play first. We receive worrying signals and, as a supervisory authority, we investigate providers who may far exceed the limits of their duty of care. If we notice this, we will intervene. With this research we see where, outside of these signals, providers are not doing well. Players must be able to assume that they can play safely. We see that rules need to be tightened, precisely to further promote a safe environment for players.
Main Points from Investigation
The investigation started in 2022 and it looked at the first 10 license holders to go live online when the Dutch market opened its doors on October 1, 2021. The headline finding from the study was the delay in interventions. This lag has been attributed to the “monitoring methodology used to detect problem players, and the (in)ability to monitor in real time.”
It was found that some license holders placed too great an emphasis on the volume of deposits and bets. Other crucial indicators, like the total hours a player spends gaming, were "given less weight."
This imbalance means that several red flags go unnoticed. The study also highlighted that younger players are often missed during these evaluations. They don’t "reach certain limit values due to set limits," leading to fewer interventions for this age group. KSA therefore recommends a broader perspective that goes beyond just the size of deposits and wagers.
Based on the results and conclusions of this study, the KSA will start tightening its own policy. The discussions with the permit holders reveal a shared wish to receive more guidance on how to fulfil the duty of care. [The] permit holders also requested a more uniform interpretation or clarification of certain standards, so that a more level playing field is created and they all comply with the same rules. This wish will be taken into account where possible in the KSA’s next steps. In addition to these follow-up steps, the KSA has also investigated several signals or indications in its supervisory practice in the area of inadequate compliance with the duty of care by providers.
Scrutiny of Cashback Bonuses
This intensified oversight comes just after KSA launched a probe into prohibited cashback bonuses, arising from concerns that licensed entities were neglecting earlier cautions. A tip-off regarding a licensed entity offering such a bonus led the regulator to step in, putting an end to the breach. By November 2022, all licensed online gambling entities were directed to cease offering bonuses in the guise of cashbacks.