Stricter gambling laws push Dutch players to illegal gambling sites

28 May 2024

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Almost half of at-risk players are not willing to show proof of earnings in order to gamble online. These players indicate that they are switching to an illegal gambling site. This also applies to high-risk players who reach their playing limit: more than 40% indicate that they will switch to a provider where they do not have to set a limit. These are some striking conclusions from the Online Gambling Barometer 2024, Ipsos I&O's research into developments in the Dutch online gambling market.

The main goal of the legislator is that 80% of the players opt for the legal offer and avoid criminal illegal online casinos. This objective has once again been achieved. 95% of Dutch people who sometimes gamble online do so at an online gambling provider with a license.

Director Peter-Paul D. of NOGA, the Dutch Online Gambling Association: "95% is a good percentage, but it also means that about 90,000 Dutch people still gamble at illegal casinos. As many as all the inhabitants of Heerlen or Hengelo. It is important to reduce the illegal supply as much as possible. The forthcoming stricter legislation will drive high-risk players in particular to illegal providers. At-risk gamblers are people who sometimes lie about their gambling behavior or bet more money than they intended. These are players who deserve extra protection. Stricter measures may be counterproductive here."

Of the players, 68% cannot distinguish between the legal and the illegal offer. "Players often have no idea. This is partly due to the ban on advertising on TV, radio and newspapers. If you search on Google, you will immediately end up at dozens of illegal casinos," warns De Goeij.

For the first time, the Online Gambling Barometer 2024 no longer shows growth in the number of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 who gamble online. While the number of at-risk players among young adults increased in 2023, it has remained stable in 2024. Half of the Dutch players are young adults, last year that was 60%. There has been a small increase in the total number of online players. This narrow growth is significantly lower than in other European countries. It is also striking that the Dutch have not started playing more often per year.

The Dutch are of the opinion that online gambling providers are responsible for preventing and identifying problematic gambling behaviour. Helma Lodders, president of Vergunde Nederlandse Online Kansspelaanbieders: "Protecting players and in particular vulnerable players, such as young adults, is our top priority. Online gambling providers with a license have an important responsibility to prevent and identify risk or problem games as much as possible. Taking a gamble should be fun and not lead to problems."

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