The online gambling industry is facing increasing pressure to impose stricter regulations and improve player protection following a recent report from the Dutch gambling authority. The report raises concerns about the lack of safety measures and the increasing number of new and young adult gamblers.
One of the key findings is the alarming increase in the number of new gamblers since the legalization of online gambling. Despite the advertising ban, approximately 450,000 new gamblers have joined the online gambling scene. This rapid increase raises concerns about potential risks and the lack of protective measures for vulnerable individuals.
The study also highlights the need to pay attention to young adult players aged 18 to 24, who are often overlooked when tracking statistics due to lower betting limits for age groups. The report highlights the importance of online gambling companies being more vigilant in detecting signs of gambling addiction and excessive gaming behavior among young adults.
Additionally, the report highlights the lack of effective interventions by online gambling providers. Despite legal duties of care, many providers have struggled to address excessive gaming or gambling addiction quickly and adequately. The report highlights the need for real-time monitoring and mandatory blocking of problematic players until appropriate interventions are implemented.
The report also highlights the ineffective tracking methodology used by online gambling companies. The focus primarily revolves around changes in gaming behavior, with less emphasis placed on factors such as number of hours played. This one-sided approach may fail to identify and resolve problematic players and jeopardize their security.
The head of the gaming authority expresses concern about providers exceeding their duty of care and emphasizes the importance of these issues being promptly investigated and addressed to protect players. However, the report does not name the companies at fault, although these companies were among the top ten companies that received permits when online gambling was legalized.
The report also highlights the financial consequences of online gambling. On average, players in the Netherlands lost €310 a month, while online gambling companies collectively earned €1.1 billion in the first year after legalization. These figures underline the need for tighter regulations and stricter measures to ensure responsible gambling practices.
In response to the report, the gambling authority is calling for urgent changes to legislation and regulations regarding online gambling. Recommendations include real-time monitoring, improved indicators to assess gaming behavior, and mandatory blocking of problematic players until interventions are implemented. The goal is to create a safer environment for all players, regardless of age or experience.
To build player confidence and ensure safety in online gambling, the industry needs to prioritize player protection. The report’s findings serve as a wake-up call and encourage online gambling companies to invest in robust mechanisms to promptly detect and address gambling addiction.