Dutch regulator to create special Duty of Care Department for online gambling

Dutch regulator to create special Duty of Care Department for online gambling
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KSA chair René Jansen announced the move at Gaming in Holland in Amsterdam.

The Netherlands.- René Jansen, chairman of Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has revealed that the Dutch gambling regulator will create a new Online Duty of Care Department as a temporary measure. The special department will focus exclusively on monitoring the fulfilment of online gambling operators’ duty of care.

Announcing the news in a speech at Gaming in Holland in Amsterdam, Jansen said the KSA would take on ten to 15 new staff to run the department. The unit will begin operating on September 1. 

The launch is a response to cases of excessive gambling, which the regulator said showed that operators were not fulfilling their duty of care. Jansen said the new Online Duty of Care department would take swift, decisive action via warning letters, fines and other sanctions in cases where companies fail to meet the duty of care.

Jansen, whose tenure ends in September, said: “Not only have we now introduced a new policy rule, but we are also going to step up our supervision of the operators’ duty of care. To this end we are setting up a temporary Online Duty of Care department, which will focus entirely on supervising that aspect of the legislation and regulations. 

“The department will issue warning letters and take a short and sharp hits approach, as well as impose significant sanctions and penalty procedures if necessary. This additional supervising department is currently being set up and we have committed to it being operational by the first of September. The process will involve recruiting between ten and fifteen new members of staff. As you will no doubt understand, supervising operators’ compliance with their obligations is our top priority.”

Other topics in Jansen’s speech included proposed new advertising limits and a potential rise in gambling tax. Here Jansen shared many operators’ concerns. Jansen said the KSA was “genuinely concerned” about the risk that a tax increase could push players to the unlicensed sector if operators pass on increased costs.

As for advertising, Jansen questioned the recent motion to ban online advertising for online gambling, suggesting that advertising was needed to allow players to distinguish licensed operators from unlicensed ones. He noted that the existing Orka Decree, which requires operators to ensure that at least 95 per cent of online ads reach consumers aged 24 or older, was proving to be difficult to supervise. He said the KSA was having conversations with the Ministry of Justice and Security about these difficulties.

Finally, Jansen warned operators to watch their step during the upcoming summer sporting events, which include Euro 2024 and the Paris Olympics.

He said: “Because I also know that competition is fierce, I don’t rule out the possibility of there being operators who nevertheless try to push the boundaries and possibly even go beyond them. That’s where we, as the KSA, will have to be very much on the ball, just as we were during the last World Cup in Qatar. We will focus on quick interventions and short, sharp hits to stop any violations in their tracks. Major or repeated infringements may also result in penalty proceedings.”

Meanwhile, new Dutch responsible gambling rules have been published in the official gazette. The measures include new financial checks when players deposit more than a certain amount.

The KSA noted that while the policy has come into force, some rules will be enforced from October 1 to allow operators time to make changes to their IT systems and to recruit more staff if needed. By October 1, operators must implement financial checks when players aged 18 to 24 deposit more than €300 or when players aged over 24 deposit more than €700.