Netherlands' Hands-off Regulation Approach QuestionedPublished June 3, 2015 by Lee R
The Netherlands may be underestimating user vulnerability in online gambling.
The Netherlands is proposing an interesting regulatory approach: leaving protection of gamblers in the hands of the gambling operators themselves.
The logic for legalising gambling is certainly there: hundreds of thousands of people are already gambling on (illegal) foreign-based sites, with a proportional representation of Dutch citizens among them.
Legalisation would allow the government to play an active role in benefiting tax-wise from online gambling, implementing online gambling, and protecting users from such online dangers as deception, fraud, whitewashing, match fixing and gambling addiction.
Protecting users is much easier said than done, however, because of the fact that so many gambling operators are based abroad, where technology is far less visible and players as users are virtually impossible to trace.
In regards to the Netherlands, the concern is that the relatively egalitarian approach reflects potentially underestimates maliciously infiltration of the software.
By trusting internet gambling to the extent that current legislation proposes, operators applying for licenses are required to take action to prevent users from becoming addicted to gambling, which cuts into profit margins to varying degrees of estimate.
Further, the proposed legislation only seeks to legalise 80% of the internet gambling market, leaving 20% illegal and unsupervised.
This seems like an experimental approach, where the completion of implementation will be based on the effectiveness of the first round of measures and regulation.
How Addictive is Online Gambling?
The remaining variable seems to be a differentiation in the conduciveness to addiction which the screen offers in the online form. The fact is that the ease of access and convenience of online gambling would seem to suggest higher potential for addiction no matter how hard online operators try to provide support for addiction thereof.
The question then becomes how much are online operators willing to invest in anti-addiction programming without some standard of compliance defined by the government, and how long can the government “experiment” if the cost is citizens being lured into further gambling addiction thereof?