Consultation begins for Dutch remote gaming rules

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As reported in an earlier article article, the Dutch Remote Gaming Act is expected to enter into force on 1 March 2021. Since the announcement of this date, the Dutch Gambling Authority (DGA), which supervises and regulates games of chance in the Netherlands, published a draft list in September of the material and documents that must be submittes in order to appy fro a remote gaming license and in October opened a consultation on the formulation of responsible gaming policy rules. This consultation ran run until 9 November 2020.

The DGA's draft "Policy rules on responsible playing" specifies the new obligations for offline and online games of chance. The Policy Rules contain provisions on advertising, clarify how prevention of problem gambling should be structured and provides guidelines for the role of the dedicated representative who must be appointed by a license holder for that purpose.

Advertising

Advertising games of chance must be prudent, careful and balanced and may not be misleading. The advertiser must exercise restraint in regard to form, target groups, content, scope, numbers and types of channels. Advertising is prohibited for activities that fall outside the scope of the core business of the license holder.

Furthermore, advertising cannot incite excessive participation in games of chance. For example, offering a time-limited bonus is forbidden, and suggesting that gambling increases social acceptance or happiness is not permitted. Promoting gambling as a lifestyle or as a solution to financial or personal problems is also forbidden.

As stated above, advertisements cannot be misleading. For example, no conditions can be attached to free participation, such as “payment with personal data”. Free participation cannot automatically turn into paid participation without the consumer's consent. It is also considered misleading if the impression is created that the consumer can exercise some influence on the results of a game of chance or that the consumer can improve his game result by following a training, study or online course.

Risk analysis

Policy Rules will give a definition of risk analysis, which will include a description of the characteristics of the games of chance at game level offered by the license holder; a description of the established risk factors; the scientific substantiation of the methods by which the risk factors and the risk potential are established; and when and by whom the risk analysis was carried out.

Addiction care

The Policy Rules define concepts such as “experts in the field of addiction care” and “experts by experience”.

When implementing an addiction-prevention policy, the license holder must join the Dutch addiction care system. This means that the license holder must provide information about addiction and its dangers to the consumer in an appropriate, clear and comprehensible manner. The license holder must provide access to addiction care websites and refer players to care or support services if required.

The Policy Rules also outline the way in which the analysis and registration of gaming behaviour, interventions in gaming behaviour and personal interviews with risk players or problem players should take place.

Addiction prevention representative

Each license holder must have an addiction prevention representative in the Netherlands who has knowledge of the Dutch healthcare system and, in particular, addiction care. This representative acts as a point of contact for addiction care agencies, experts and supervisors and to do so must speak Dutch and be available five days a week for questions by the license holder. The representative cannot represent multiple licensees.

The DGA announced when publishing these Policy Rules that it will soon issue public-policy rules specifically designed for online games of chance. These policy rules will cover all subjects when applying for an online gaming license and contain rules for granting these licenses.

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