In the online casino industry, there are two things that are always constant – new games are welcomed almost weekly and the fight for a regulated market is always being fought.
The Netherlands is currently fighting the good fight and aims to provide safe and licensed gameplay for players in their country. Unfortunately, this is not a simple task and has been met with pushback, delays, and frustration.
Regulated gambling delayed – again
Over the last few months, many industries and much of the world has been flipped on its head. The iGaming industry hasn’t been spared unfortunately and in the Netherlands, it’s quite evident.
Originally set to be put into motion in January of 2021, regulated iGaming in the Netherlands has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not only has the new law been delayed but it has also come under extended scrutiny. While scrutiny is not always negative, many land-based casinos are questioning whether or not gamblers have been put at risk by delaying the regulated market.
Due to land-based casinos having to close their doors while on lockdown, a portion of players searching for somewhere to play have turned to illegal offshore sites. Could this have been avoided if the iGaming market was simply regulated earlier? Possibly, but there are still a few kinks to iron out before the official launch date.
Social Justice and Security Minister, Sander Dekker, has had to field many questions on the new Remote Gaming Act including a call for shorter licences for operators, an extension of the cooling-off period, and how the government plans to tackle problem gambling.
No short-term self-exclusion option
Responsible gambling measures are extremely important and must be considered thoroughly in order to protect players.
It’s because of this that the Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has called on the government to explain their implementation of an inefficient self-exclusion program.
The national exclusion scheme, the Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen (Cruks), is set to provide a minimum self-exclusion period of 6 months.
“Surprisingly, a time-limited form of self-exclusion is lacking in the palette of preventive measures that come into force with the Remote Gambling Act. A mandatory time-out period of at least 24 hours should help players who periodically contend with self-control, for example on the day salary is received,” said the KSA.
The error of not including short-term self-exclusion does nothing more than dissuade players from making use of this function – and further puts them at risk.
Handling problem gambling
The KSA has had years of experience studying the iGaming market and had a few suggestions on how to tackle problem gambling (or the potential thereof) effectively and ensure responsible gambling.
When discussing a “polluter pays” style of taxing casino players, the KSA pointed out that this is not effective as the wrong players are deterred.
While problem gambling is a serious issue, the number of players with problems is much lower than those playing for entertainment. This means that the number of players being hurt by a uniform tax is those who are simply playing for fun while those with a gambling problem are not really discouraged at all.
It was also suggested by the KSA that the government pay close attention to the games on offer and how they affect players. Different games hold different weight in terms of risk to players.
From online slots placing players at risk more often than table games, to sports betting that is more likely to lead to match-fixing – the key is finding ways to balance the negative with positive outcomes.
New regulated market set to launch in 2021
While there are still many questions to be answered and much to be decided about the new iGaming laws in the Netherlands, the government remains positive. Despite delays due to Covid-19, the government plans to officially open its new regulated market on the 1st of July 2020.
Prior to this, starting on the 1st of January 2021, the KSA will have its first licensing window.