Amid rising concerns over sports betting scams targeting the youth, Franc Weerwind, the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection, has unveiled a robust, multi-year initiative aimed at curbing online gambling-related fraud. This campaign emerges as a countermeasure to apprehensions voiced in the parliament over potential match-fixing promoted through social platforms.
In a discussion with MPs from SP, CDA, and the Christian Union, Weerwind addressed reports suggesting social media influencers might be exploiting platforms like Telegram to disseminate fraudulent sports outcomes. Although no conclusive evidence points to match-fixing, Weerwind emphasized the alarming trend of scammers focusing their efforts on the younger demographic. The forthcoming campaign aspires to arm the youth with knowledge, helping them distinguish genuine offers from scams.
Pointing to the existing legal prohibition on using youth-centric role models in gambling promotions, Weerwind commented, “Deceptive practices under the guise of ‘quick profit via sports betting’ is not only harmful but punishable.” He further detailed that many victims are lured into purchasing fabricated results using cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the importance of public awareness in preventing such fraudulent activities.
Some political voices have even advocated for a reevaluation of the 2021-introduced Remote Gambling Act, which ushered in regulated online gambling. Weerwind, however, has made alterations within the confines of existing legalities, which includes banning the use of role models in advertisements starting June 30, 2022, and ceasing generic online gambling ads from July 1, 2023. His policies predominantly focus on preventing addiction.
Meanwhile, the KSA, the Dutch gambling watchdog, plans to elevate public awareness around its Cruks self-exclusion service and will roll out an educational curriculum for schools next year. The KSA also recently disclosed that its current chairman, René Jansen, will retire and not pursue another term post his six-year tenure ending October 1, 2024. He’s set to resign on July 1, 2024.
In other developments, a recent KSA report indicated a potential plateau in the growth trajectory of the Netherlands’ regulated online gambling sector. Since its inception, the number of operational licenses has soared from an initial 10 to 27, bolstered by the entrance of LeoVegas into the market.