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Dutch minister: government will not impose loss limitations

Minister of Dutch legal protection Minister Weerwind has criticised the concept of state-mandated loss-limits, stating that they would certainly divert players to unregulated or numerous operators.

The minister made these statements in response to Michael van Nispen and Mirjam Bikker's questions in parliament on the matter. Currently, players must select their own limitations while creating an account.

Weerwind stated that he still believes the existing alternative is preferable than requiring all operators to adhere to certain guidelines.

“When drafting the law, it was decided to let the player set his own limits. This choice is based on experiences from addiction care and various studies that show that the possibility for players to make well-informed choices about their gaming behavior is an effective prevention method. I therefore want to stick to this principle of self-limitation.”

“I consider that too strict limits can lead to avoidance behavior by players, causing them to play with multiple providers at the same time, or even to swerve to illegal offers, which endangers the channeling. I will also investigate whether technology has progressed so far that a mode can be found for the provider exceeding playing limits, technically and from a privacy point of view.”

This is in contrast to statements made by the head of the Dutch regulator (KSA), René Jansen, who intimated in a May speech that the board may establish maximum loss limits for operators. On that occasion, he had contrasted Dutch law to that of peer nations with stringent loss limitations, indicating that the Netherlands may potentially follow this approach.

“In Sweden, the operator has a statutory duty to initiate an investigation if a gambler exceeds the deposit limit of €930,” Jansen said. “These examples serve to illustrate that other avenues are open to the legislator.”

Weerwind faced more inquiries over gambling commercials, which continue to be a source of contention in the country. In response, he noted that the government had just last week established a restriction on the use of "role models" in gambling advertisements and was still planning to implement a ban on "untargeted" advertisements for high-risk games.

Weerwind denied that he would delay the granting of new licences until this prohibition takes effect, as requested by the two lawmakers.

In addition, the minister addressed claims that “almost one in five gamblers are currently under 25 years old”. Weerwind noted that this was based on a study with a sample period including a significant amount of time before online gambling became legal last year. As a result, he argued that a large amount of this play may have been with the unlicensed sector prior to launch.


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