Dutch regulator: age checks must be tightened

KSA found underage players are accessing scratch cards and gaming machines.
KSA found underage players are accessing scratch cards and gaming machines.

The Dutch gaming regulator KSA says more must be done to enforce age checks as it also announces a renewed clampdown on online bingo.

The Netherlands.- The gaming regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has said more needs to be done to enforce age verification procedures on gambling products in Holland.

It polled people aged 16 to 30 to investigate the extent of underage gambling in the Netherlands. It found that in the past 12 months, 11 per cent of 16 – 17 year olds used scratch cards and 8 per cent  “occasionally” played on gambling machines. 

The survey also found that 7 per cent had played on lotteries, and 5 per cent occasionally placed bets on sports. Only 5 per cent of the underage players polled said they had been refused when trying to purchase scratch cards, and only 1 per cent for slot machines.

The KSA said in a statement: “There is little age control on playing slot machines and buying scratch cards. This is evident from a relatively large share of minors unjustly admitted [to gambling premises] and a small proportion of minors [that were] rightly refused. 

“Strict adherence to, and application of, the age limit of 18 years needs to be an important factor for the KSA when supervising providers.”

The regulator recognised that many of the cases of minors playing scratch cards were probably due to adults buying the product for them, but it criticised hotels and restaurants for not controlling age verification for slot machines.

The survey found that 69 per cent of underage players who used slot machines used them in restaurants, compared to 31 per cent in arcades. 

KSA has also announced a clampdown on online bingo starting from tomorrow (July 1), marking an end to its lenient approach to online bingo adopted during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It chose to turn a blind eye to many cases during lockdown owing to the number of unlicensed bingo games being organised for charitable causes but says it found itself having to intervene in more than a dozen cases in which unlicensed bingo games were being run for more commercial purposes.

As a result, now that lockdown in the Netherlands has been eased, the regulator says that from tomorrow it will begin enforcing licence obligations for bingo again.

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bingo regulation the Netherlands