Published: September 29, 2023

The National Rapporteur on Addictions in the Netherlands has recommended a fresh set of updates to the country’s gambling regulations

In the Gambling on Health – Advice Report, Dr Arnt FA Schellekens and the NVA outline 22 recommendations to the Ministry of Justice.

They include the creation of a “structured, high-quality monitoring system” to better track online gaming and gambling-related harm, as well as the introduction of “overarching play limits” and powers to “prohibit games with a demonstrably high risk or impose requirements to mitigate these risks.”

Schellekens said he is not prepared to wait for upcoming discussions on the regulations including an evaluation of the Remote Gambling Act in 2024, and said he believes there is “sufficient reason to formulate additional policies as soon as possible” to limit gambling harm.

He added that it is the “right approach” to look at gambling addiction from a “much broader perspective” by considering “financial, relational, psychological, health-related and social consequences.”

“For instance, there is a clear and very concerning link between gambling and suicidality, debt problems, sadness, depression, and alcohol use,” he said.

“I believe that improvements are both possible and necessary across the entire spectrum, from preventing risky gambling to treating gambling addiction, as well as measures to limit personal and societal harm. This also applies to the products/games offered.”

Other recommendations include investment in activities such as educational packages, awareness days and independent online information sites to raise awareness of the risks of gambling.

The NVA also wants to “further restrict advertising and marketing” following the introduction of a ban on untargeted advertising introduced in July, with the report citing crackdowns in Italy and Belgium as comparable examples.

Awareness and visibility of the Gambling Helpline, the Cruks self-exclusion register and self-help groups should also be improved, the report added.

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