Earlier this week, the Dutch Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, “KSA”) published its draft Supervisory Agenda for 2019. The Supervisory Agenda is an annual document in which KSA outlines how it envisages to fulfill its supervisory role and its main objectives in the coming year, being consumer protection, the prevention of gambling addiction and the prevention of illegality and crime. Stakeholders are invited to provide their comments on the draft Supervisory Agenda by 11 February.
First of all, KSA “expects that in February 2019 the legislative proposal for the Dutch Remote Gambling Act will be adopted by the Senate”. On 5 February 2019, the plenary session by the Senate will take place during which the Dutch Remote Gambling Act will either be adopted or rejected. In light of this, it is interesting to see that KSA has already expressed its expectations on the outcome.
According to the draft Supervisory Agenda, KSA has set out the following risk themes for 2019: (i) participation by minors; (ii) prevention of gambling addiction; (iii) illegal offering of games of chance and criminality; and (iv) advertising / recruitment. For each of these risk themes, KSA outlines which actions it has taken in 2018 and which actions it envisages to take in 2019. Looking ahead to the coming year, the key points are summarized below per risk theme:
- Participation by minors: Participation in games of chance by minors is legally prohibited in the Netherlands and one of the focus points of KSA. KSA shall continue its efforts to monitor the participation by minors in games of chance on a structural basis. Furthermore, KSA shall conduct further in-depth research into the risks of participation by minors and the underlying causes. With respect to online gambling, KSA mentions that the participation of minors is taken into account in the prioritization of enforcement action.
- Prevention of gambling addiction: KSA will continue its collaboration with several stakeholders (e.g. providers of games of chance, health care providers, research institutions) to encourage a better cooperation in the prevention of gambling addiction. Furthermore, KSA will continue to focus on providers of games with ‘loot boxes’, focusing on raising awareness among players, parents and the sector. Also, in 2019 KSA will publish guidelines with respect to the duty of care of gambling providers and shall monitor compliance with these guidelines closely.
- Illegal offering of games of chance and criminality: In 2018, KSA was already very active in the prevention of illegal offering of games of chance and imposed a record amount of fines amounting up to € 1.709.800,-. In 2019, KSA will continue to look for innovative possibilities to reduce the illegal offering of games of chance and to make them less accessible to the consumer. Special attention is given to participation by minors in illegal online offerings.
- Advertising / recruitment: In 2018, KSA took active enforcement action against license holders who advertised on websites which are (partly) aimed at minors. With a view to the expected entry into force of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act, measures are being prepared by KSA to avoid a disproportionate increase in advertising, e.g. through licensing requirements or clarification of open norms. This will be done on the basis of scientific research supplemented with experiences from foreign regulators. Lastly, KSA will continue its enforcement actions in 2018 against gambling advertisements aimed at minors.
After the consultation period has ended, KSA will consider the input received from stakeholders and publish the final version of the Supervisory Agenda on its website.
Ilias Abassi and RIchard van Schaik