(To read the Dutch version, please click here.)

Once again, the self-proclaimed moral masters of politics have seized the opportunity to submit motions against the ‘’criminals of the gambling market’’. As expected, motions were made to further restrict the so-called ‘sick market’. Van Nispen’s statement below perfectly summarises why he is unsuitable to voice opinions about the Dutch gambling market.

“The regulated gambling of 2021 has become a gambling market steeped in immorality. Every day that these companies are allowed to continue their bad practices unhindered, more people become ensnared in gambling addiction. As far as we are concerned, it is time to do away with gambling companies with no moral sense. A ban on online gambling advertisements is a step forward towards a country where bad gambling companies no longer have a place.”

It shows not only incompetence but a complete lack of rational argumentation. Emotionally driven actions without solid substantiation are the last thing I, as a citizen, want to see from my representatives. It is not only sad that this is the level of our elected politicians, but it is also potentially harmful to our society.

People want to gamble, period. Whatever you think about that, that fact doesn’t change. But according to these types of politicians, banning means something disappears by itself, which simply isn’t the case. Those ‘’immoral gambling companies’’ have existed for a long time and made big money from vulnerable groups without caring about their well-being.

Imagine the utopia being a ‘’Wild West’’ casino; no expensive permits required, free rein for advertising, easy to find on Google, cheating and exploiting players without any duty of care. Maximum profit, minimum responsibility. Duty of care? Interventions? Those terms aren’t even in their vocabulary. When they see me, the compliance specialist at a conference, they quickly turn their heads.

And then we have the ‘gambling companies without morals’ in the Netherlands: 27 license holders (23 of which are live) who have reached out to the Gaming Authority and invested two euros in a nice text about responsible gaming on their website to go rogue with that license. I get the impression that some actually believe this to be true.

But the reality is different. Has Van Nispen ever looked at the permit application process? What is required to become a permit holder? Most requirements are clearly stated on the Gaming Authority’s website. But let’s look at a few examples:

– 24/7 Dutch-speaking customer service

– Addiction prevention workers and tools

– Employees and tools for compliance with the WWFT (Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act)

– A platform that demonstrably meets the stated requirements

– Games that demonstrably meet the stated requirements

– Compliance officers

– Control databases

– KYC checks (Know Your Customer)

– Transaction monitoring

– Segregation of player funds

This requires significant investment and is not an easy task to set up. This is evident from the number of permits granted compared to the number of applications. Only about 25% of applications make it through the permitting process.

It requires detailed preparation, policy making, and an application fee of €48,000 with the KSA. Millions are invested, with only a 25% chance of success, all while advertising is practically impossible because Van Nispen considers you a gambling company with no morals.

I know what I would choose if I were a company without morals. It wouldn’t be a license.

There is still much to be gained from implementing the duty of care, and other laws and regulations that permit holders in the Netherlands must comply with. I’m not avoiding that. In fact, that’s my job—ensuring that everything is and remains in compliance. We and the permit holders work on this day in and day out.

I do not expect this proposal to actually be adopted. The ball is now in the minister’s court, and I hope that outgoing Minister Weerwind still strives for balance and logic, as he has previously indicated. Moreover, many steps still need to be taken before legislation can be changed.

I have little faith in the Van Nispens of this world, but I trust that this ignorance will not guide those in control.

What should we do then? We must fight against illegal supply and discuss all possible options. But that should be the focus.

The KSA must be able to bang its fist on the table with permit holders where things go wrong. Quick, strong enforcement.

The ministries must do everything possible to keep illegal supplies out of the Netherlands.

The roughly 25 permit holders have constant work to do to convince public opinion, politicians, and other stakeholders. We do this by improving every day, promoting our values ​​, and showing that.

To the license holders: You are not a gambling company without morals. If you were, you would not have a license.