Dutch gamblers have spent more on online gambling websites than was expected and young adults are particularly active, the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit said on Friday.
The market for online gambling was legalised in the Netherlands a year ago and in the first six months Dutch gamblers spent almost €500 million on games of chance, broadcaster NOS reported.
The 2022 figure is likely to top €1 billion, given that more companies are licensed to offer online gambling services and the World Cup still has to take place, NOS said. Experts had expected turnover to be in region of €800 million.
In total, 563,000 accounts were activated in the first six months, and youngsters aged 18 to 23 accounted for more than one in five of them. Online gamblers spend an average of €153 per month on their habit.
Gambling authority chairman René Jansen said he would like to see more research into the popularity of online gambling among young adults. ‘They are over-represented… and we need to keep an eye on them,’ he said. ‘It is, of course, the online generation who grew up with the internet.’
Ten companies were licensed to offer online gambling when the market opened up and 12 more have been given the green light to operate since then. More may be licensed in the coming months.
The government has slapped restrictions on the way online gambling companies advertise since they were legalised last year. They are no longer allowed to use celebrities in adverts.
Gambling companies which sponsor football clubs will also face restrictions when their current contracts expire. According to website SportNext.nl, most Dutch Eredivisie clubs are sponsored by gambling companies to some extent, including 10 that are linked to Toto.
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