The practice of gambling companies offering bonuses to customers is to come under close scrutiny with the announcement by the Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) of a new consultation on the country’s new player protection rules.
The draft rules include a ban on offering timed bonuses along with a requirement for gambling operators to carry out risk analysis on all of their games.
The rules propose a ban on bonuses that have to be used within a set time, including those with short time limits, and so-called ‘happy hour’ bonuses. These restrictions are among several measures that are intended to cut down on impulsive play.
Gambling companies will also have to ensure that any advertising is only for gambling products which may legally be offered to customers in the Netherlands, and to make sure that none of their marketing messages suggest financial benefits or other benefits as a possible reward for gambling. Additional restrictions will ensure that gambling advertisements cannot downplay the risks of gambling, or target directly or indirectly, viewers who are under the legal age for gambling.
The risk analysis that all operators will be required to carry out on their games, should clearly identify the risk factors involved, focusing on jackpot sizes, volatility, RTP figures and game design.
In the area of intervention on player safety, operators will be required to intervene if a customers can no longer bear the financial consequences of their gambling or if they show significant consequences such as losing a job or application for debt restructuring.
The KSA will also require operators to provide details of their plans to target gambling addiction at the time of applying for a Netherlands licence. In a statement announcing the consultation, the KSA said that this was part of the responsibilities that operators should accept:
“License holders have a general duty of care to prevent gambling addiction as much as possible, Because of the negative personal, social and societal consequences of gambling addiction, an active addiction prevention policy is necessary.”
The consultation on bonuses and other measures will run until November 9 and the responses will help to inform the final draft of the regulations. The new rules are set to take effect when the Netherlands Remote Gambling Act launches in March 2021, with the market expected to be ready for business in September 2021. It had been originally hoped that the Act would take effect from July 1 this year, but it has been twice delayed, by political concerns and then by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government of the Netherlands has notified the European Commission of some of the other important aspects of the planned regulations, including the requirement for operators to have addiction prevention policies, and a rule that all customers must set a maximum credit figure for their betting account at the time they are created.