A Dutch MP is seeking to reverse the legalisation of regulated online gambling in the Netherlands.

Anne Kuik, a member of the country’s Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, has launched an initiative to undo the Remote Gambling Act (KOA).

Online gambling became legal in the Netherlands in October 2021 after years of political debate and has since grown significantly, generating GGR of more than €1bn in full-year 2022.

“As a result of the law, gambling has been normalised and young people have been driven into a world of addiction,” said Kuik. “We have to suppress that now.”

Kuik described the law as the product of a “prevailing neoliberal wind” in a political environment where profit and the free market is prioritised over protecting the vulnerable.  

She suggested that market liberalisation has caused a further 450,000 more people to gamble, with 21% of those accounts being held by young adults.

National report

Kuik cited the National Rapporteur (national report) on Addictions by Arnt Schellekens to support her argument.

One conclusion from the report, published last month, suggests that online gambling “unnecessarily causes problems for many people, ranging from debt to depression and suicidality”.

Kuik’s preference would be to outlaw online gambling entirely.

A secondary option, in her view, would be to run a gambling market under strict conditions, operated purely by state-owned companies.

“We must immediately revoke the licences of gambling companies that fail to fulfil their duty of care and revoke their right to offer gambling games,” she added.

Kuik’s primary concern is the normalisation of online gambling since the KOA was implemented.

She said gambling adverts create an illusion of being able to win money easily and project a festive, cheerful atmosphere, which is entirely false, in her view.

Other Dutch political parties have also questioned national gambling laws in recent months.

For example, Christian Union leader Mirjam Bikker asked how many more gambling addicts must be created before market liberalisation is reversed.

“I want to put the initiative law in the pipeline in the near future and hope that I can continue with it after the elections,” said Kuik. “Otherwise, a successor can take over from me.”

Regulatory approach

The Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA) has implemented several restrictions since October 2021 as it sought to make online gambling safer for consumers.

Televised gambling adverts were banned from July of this year, while gambling sponsorship in sport will also be outlawed from 2025.

Licensed operators are also prohibited from using “role models” in their marketing material, including celebrities, influencers and professional athletes.