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    The Report by KSA Reveals That Dutch Gambling Market Is Surprisingly Smaller Than Expected

    Author Mats Published Published 04/04-2022

    The chair of the notorious Dutch gambling regulator, de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), Rene Jansen, revealed that according to preliminary data, the online gambling market in the Netherlands may be quite smaller than the country initially predicted. According to the annual report conducted by the KSA for 2021, a total of 634.000 online gambling accounts were created since the launch of the new Dutch regulatory framework on the 1st of October 2021, until the beginning of March 2022.

    Moreover, Jansen reveals that the KSA initially estimated that more than 1 million Dutch citizens participated in online games of chance, with certain surveys reporting up to 1.8 million users. However, after the first results from the report, it seems like the situation is not so optimistic. In fact, according to Jansen, if we take into account that many of the 634.000 individuals have up to several accounts with different operators, the number is even lower than the actual report shows.

    An unknown number of players have an account with several providers… So there are (probably considerably) fewer than 634,000. This is an important insight because earlier estimates have been made of approximately 1 million Dutch people who – occasionally or more often – participate in games of chance on the internet. There is even a recent survey that came in at 1.8 million. Those estimates, therefore, seem exaggerated, particularly because several large providers without a licence no longer offer their services in the Netherlands from 1 October.

    Furthermore, Jansen revealed that the KSA is very satisfied with the success of the gambling framework from October 1st, being that the number of legal gambling operators greatly surpasses the number of 'black market' providers. Consequently, Jansen states that the KSA achieved its main goal: creating and maintaining a regulated and safe gaming environment.

    The addendum includes a graph that clearly shows that the legal offer has largely suppressed the illegal offer since 1 October 2021. That was exactly the intention of the Act: people who want to gamble online should be able to do so in a safe, regulated environment.

    The main concern, however, is that after the launch of October 1st, the average number of hours that users spend playing online games of chance is only rising, and it currently greatly surpasses the numbers before regulating the market. And it is exactly the regulation of the market that 'stimulated' this surge in playing hours, says Jansen.

    At the same time, the graph shows that on balance since October 1, the total number of hours that consumers spend on gambling sites has been greater than before October 1. An explanation could be that the 2. legalization of online games of chance drew consumers’ attention to its existence.

    Yet, the chair of the KSA sees gambling advertisements as one of the biggest culprits for the spike in online gambling in the country. Especially the big coverage that the local media gave to the historic gambling framework before October. For that matter, Jansen reveals that the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, is already prepared to further impose restrictions on gambling advertising altogether.

    After all, in the run-up to legalization there was a lot of media attention for online games of chance. And of course, there has been a lot of advertising since 1 October.

    For the time being, the gambling operators in the Netherlands agreed to the first demands of the government, and that is to stop printing flyers with gambling information, as well as stop airing gambling commercials on the radio.

    In the last part of the report, Jansen reveals that there is also an increase in users that signed up for the Dutch self-exclusion register Cruks, or specifically more than 10.000 players. According to the KSA, this is a very encouraging number since it clearly shows that people are not afraid to ask for help and battle their addiction.

    A third and final observation on my part is that Cruks has amply passed 10,000 registrations… The number of more than 10,000 registrations tells me that we are on the right track. Cruks is an important remedy for gambling addiction, so it’s good that people know where to find the registry.

    Despite the number of Dutch online gambling players being quite smaller than the KSA predicted, it is still too early to make any predictions as to how the market in the Netherlands will eventually settle, based on this report. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain. The KSA keeps proving that it is one of the most vigilant and no-nonsense gambling authorities in the world.

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