Developments in Netherlands gambling regulation are beginning to mirror those in the more established UK market regarding customer finances and affordability.
This week, members of the centre-right Christian Union political party called on Franc Weerwind – the country’s Minister for Legal Protection, responsible for political oversight of gambling regulation – to propose adoption of a ‘universal financial loss limit’.
Introduction of this measure would require changes to the KOA Act, the legislation which has governed the Dutch betting market since October 2021. Weerwind, who is set to depart his role later this year, is currently overseeing second stage reforms of the Act.
Under the CU’s proposals, all 27 licensed Dutch operators would have to observe an “overarching loss limit”. Party leader, Mirjam Bikker, asserted that the KOA Act is “deficient against excessive gambling, in particular as there is no financial limit applied to online casino games.”
Weerwind’s current proposal to the MPs of the Kamer parliament is that mandatory financial risk checks be introduced, specifically targeting player accounts with a spend of over €350.
A loss limit will be applied to the KOA regime, as Weerwind has proposed that a €150 spend restriction be imposed on the gambling accounts of customers aged under-24.
This reflects developments on the other side of the North Sea, where in the UK the Gambling Act review White Paper – published in April last year with the goal of overhauling the country’s betting legislation – contains finance risk checks as a flagship measure.
The UK government, specifically the DCMS and the Gambling Commission (UKGC), have been engaging in consultations with industry stakeholders in the hopes of implementing the White Paper measures this year.
Some concerns have been raised about how finance risk checks could affect the customer payments journey and payments experience, particularly if the measures are not frictionless enough.
In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Justice is supporting Weerwind’s proposals, but the CU is arguing that the Minister’s plans are not going far enough. The party believes that a more sweeping measure is needed.
Bikker explained: “With 27 online gambling providers…A quick calculation shows that even with a limit of €150 per month, young people still face the risk of losing an average monthly wage.”
CU and CDA ministers have expressed frustration with Weerwind’s cautious approach, underscoring the urgent requirement to tackle the rise in online gambling addiction, particularly among young adults, and calling for immediate action instead of awaiting further evaluations.
The debate around affordability in the Netherlands appears to be in its infancy in comparison to the UK, although given that the KOA Act marketplace has been in place for two years in comparison to the 2005 Gambling Act review’s 18 this is not too surprising.
As developments continue to play out, it could be valuable for fintech and payments firms to pay close attention. If the UK can be used as a blueprint, there could be scope for Open Banking providers to play a role in the Netherlands’ finance risk check measures.