Dutch consumer survey finds rise in problem gambling

The survey is now in its seventh year.
The survey is now in its seventh year.

Gambling came fifth place in terms of problem behaviour.

The Netherlands.- A survey into the habits of Dutch consumers has highlighted an apparent rise in problem gambling. The study, which also tracks substance abuse, noted a steep rise from 2022 to 2023.

Conducted by market analyst LADIS, the survey found that gambling was the fifth most problematic issue affecting 3.8 per cent of citizens. That’s relatively low compared to alcohol (44.9 per cent) cannabis (15.3 per cent), cocaine (12.3 per cent) and opiate abuse (11.8 per cent). However, problem gambling showed the fastest year-on-year growth in 2023, rising by 24.2 per cent. Online gaming showed the biggest increase in customer activity in the period.

Data from problem gambling treatment centres suggests that 46 per cent of people who requested support did so for the first time. Some 88 per cent were men, and 75 cent were aged between 25 and 55. Some 44 per cent of those with harmful gambling also had a substance abuse disorder, with alcohol the most common (44 per cent).

Earlier this week, the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), reported on the results of its probe into duty of care levels at gaming arcades in the Netherlands. It found that most of the 20 arcades inspected in December and January showed satisfactory compliance with gambling prevention regulations under the Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act).

However, the regulator concluded that although regular players appeared to understand their behaviour, there was room for improvement. It found that some venues had implemented play time monitoring to various extents but that none had set a maximum playing time, which the KSA said was particularly important for arcades that are open 24 hours a day. It also found players using multiple slot machines at the same time. It noted that this is not illegal but puts players at risk of excessive gambling. 

The future of Dutch gambling reforms

The next round of Dutch gambling reforms will come into force on October 1, introducing mandatory checks for players surpassing monthly deposit limits. Meanwhile, the new coalition government of the Netherlands has named Teun Struycken as minister for legal protection.

The position puts the New Social Contract (NSC) MP in charge of gambling policy as the new government picks up the review of gambling legislation begun by the previous administration.

The appointment may concern gambling operators as the NSC is known for an anti-gambling stance, having proposed a ban on online gambling in its election manifesto. It said at the time that “generous government policies” had caused online gambling to “explode”, leading to issues with debt, crime and gambling addiction. The Dutch Parliament has voted in favour of a ban on online slots and a ban on all gambling advertising, and the coalition government’s proposed budget plan includes a hike in gambling tax.

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