The whole world especially the European Nations, are rapidly rising to the challenge where the issue of safer gambling and protecting the vulnerable players is concerned.
From the 30 of June 2022, The Netherlands is cracking down on gambling ads in the new market by placing a ban on gambling providers, from using role models in their advertisements.
In a letter sent to both gambling operators and advertising organisations, the Dutch regulator reminded them of its intention to implement the new rules as stipulated and to carry out enforcement should operators fail to comply with the ban.
The regulator earlier in the year, issued warnings to operators over ads aimed at young people, after the regulator found three operators intended to advertise through platforms primarily used by children and young people.
Dutch government also established a Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen (CRUKS) a self- exclusion central system whereby people can register to self-exclude from gambling or receiving gambling related marketing.
The Dutch gambling regulator, KSA has now launched an investigation into potential violations of this CRUKS rules by land-based operators. Investigations was launched after complaints from players who had self-excluded were still able to access slot halls and venues without restrictions and their registration with CRUKS ignored.
KSA has threatened to impose sanctions on any operator found liable, because the players who registered did so because they have a problem with gambling and can no longer control their activities.
The Belgian government on May 10th, 2022 also announced the proposal for the complete banning of gambling advertising in the country. Under this new rule, all gambling advertising would be illegal with the exception of that of the National lottery. The new rule is set to go into effect from the end of the year.
Finland’s new lottery Act, will extend mandatory identification of players which already exist for casino slot games, to include all forms of gambling as well as payment blocking for all operators except the Finnish lottery monopoly Veikkaus.
Mandatory ID checks for coupon based games such as lotto & Eurojackpot is due to come into effect from 1st Jan, 2023; though Veikkaus is requesting for more time to enable it ensure its machines are capable of carrying out the checks.
Some EU countries have set maximum loss limits a player cannot exceed. In Austria, players can only deposit a maximum of 800 euro a week while in Germany, the maximum a player can deposit is 1000 euro a month. In Norway, the maximum loss that players can incur is less than 2000 euro a month while in Sweden, the operators has a statutory duty to initiate an investigation if a player exceeds the deposit limit of 930 euro.
The Dutch regulator, has also hinted that it is planning to set maximum loss limits for operators after the investigative journalist ‘pointer’ put some operators on blast for allowing a gambler lose thousands of euro without any intervention or sufficient action taken.
A host of other countries as earlier reported, have initiated one form of policy or rules to combat the issue of responsible gambling and the protection of minors and those experiencing gambling problems.
Nigeria as a country with the surge of online/igaming in the country and the influx of unregulated and untargeted gambling ads flooding the internet, is yet to enact one law/rule/policy that will address this serious issue. Even the new proposed gaming bill has no single provision for promoting safer gambling or checking operators for ads that might target children and the vulnerable.
It is not enough for operators and their agents to just hang 18+ signage or expect people to know their limit, there are those who have lost control and are unable to stop even when they want to. That is why there is something called gambling addiction, like drug and alcohol addiction. Thus the nation’s government and the industry’s regulator ought to intervene and make defining laws that will protect the underage and those struggling. Statistics have shown that of all the major addictions out there, gambling addiction has the highest rate of suicide.
Let’s emulate global gaming practice and standard.