Netherlands to launch digital resilience drive amid gambling concerns
Franc Weerwind, Netherlands’ minister for legal protection, announced a multi-year digital resilience campaign programme to combat fraud associated with online gambling.
Weerwind explained the rationale behind the campaign in response to concerns raised by fellow parliamentarians over match-fixing via social media.
Weerwind said the campaign will initially be aimed at young people. In particular, messaging will help them recognise scams and offers that appear too good to be true.
The minister was responding to questions from SP, CDA and Christian Union MPs about a report from the AD news site which alleged that social media influencers were defrauding victims of thousands of euros via Telegram by helping to promote fake sports results.
Weerwind said there was no evidence that the young people targeted were involved in match-fixing or indeed that any sporting events had actually been fixed. However, he expressed a broad concern that fraudsters are seeking out vulnerable people, such as the young.
Weerwind also said it is “undesirable” for influencers to advertise risky games of chance. He noted that gambling companies are prohibited from using role models that appeal to young people to advertise products.
“Fraud and inciting people to commit criminal acts is harmful and also punishable,” Weerwind wrote. “In this case, this would be done under the guise of ‘making quick money through sports betting’. The so-called manipulated results are purchased from the scammers on Telegram and paid for via cryptocurrency.
“People are being scammed. Awareness about and recognition of online scams by citizens can help prevent victimisation.”
Netherlands gambling social problems
Weerwind responded cautiously to suggestions that the legalisation of online gambling has created or expanded existing social problems. He said he did not wish to pre-judge a review into the impact of the Remote Gaming Act in 2024.
He added: “I have already made adjustments within the given legal frameworks in the past period and will continue to do so. For example, I have banned the use of role models as of 30 June 2022 and untargeted advertising for online gambling as of 1 July 2023. Addiction prevention is central to my policy efforts.”
Earlier this year, the Dutch government said it plans to submit new rules to improve addiction prevention in early 2024. It admitted the current system is flawed.
In addition to the broad digital resilience campaign, the Dutch gambling regulator, KSA, is due to commence work on a scheme that will test how self-exclusion service Cruks’ brand awareness can best be increased among different target groups.
Other initiatives include a programme that identifies and provides guidance for risky or problematic gambling behaviour among young adults. Developed by the Trimbos Institute, a specialist in addressing addiction issues, it will also be delivered in schools from 2024.
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