Online gambling grows, accounts total tops 860,000
The number of accounts held with online gambling companies more than doubled in the second half of last year to 860,000, netting them around €1.1 billion before taxes, gambling watchdog Kansspelautoriteiten (Ksa) said in a report published on Wednesday.
The number of accounts does not match the number of players as people can have several and the Ksa estimates the true number of people who play monthly at around 365,000. Some 60% have started gambling following its legalisation 18 months ago.
In January this year gambling companies earned €124 million from Dutch punters, 39% more than in January 2021, and predictions are that the upward trend will continue. The average monthly loss is around €143 a month per account.
Some 92% of online gamblers now play via licenced companies, 12% more than was projected prior to the legalisation of online betting.
Ksa chair René Jansen said the legalisation of online gambling was bound to increase the number of accounts but that the worry is that not all companies fulfill their duty of care towards players. That means they are failing to monitor people whose excessive gambling behaviour and heavy losses point to addiction, he told NOS.
The effects of the legalisation of online gambling on addiction are not yet clear but the Ksa said that so far 38,000 people had entered their names in a ‘stop gambling’ register which effectively bars them from any form of (online) gambling for a period of six months.
The report said young adults are most at risk of addiction. ‘What we feared is coming true,’ spokesman Tony van Rooij of the Trimbos addiction institute told the broadcaster. ‘We are seeing a lot of new players who may go on to play for long spells. That is a risk to health in itself but they also lose money and some lose extremely high amounts,’ he said.
Van Rooij questioned the €143 average loss because it does not home in on the group of 1 or 2% who lose thousands of euros in a session. ‘We have to remember that this move was meant to protect gamblers in the old situation, not to attract a big new group of players,’ he said.
The government has brought in legislation to phase out ads on tv, radio and public places to protect gambling addicts and other vulnerable people. Ads are seen as the main driver for gambling, particularly if they feature well known (sports) personalities, a practice which has now also been banned.
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