Dutch Gambling Regulator Highlights Age Verification Failures

  • 10% of those surveyed aged 16 to 17 admitted to gambling in the past year
  • The KSA fears that adults may be purchasing scratch cards on behalf of minors
  • Slot machines were the most popular form of gambling among those surveyed
Dutch flag waving on the stern of a tour boat
Dutch regulator the KSA has found that 10% of 16-to-17-year-olds have gambled in the past year. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Scratch cards popular with young people

A new survey conducted by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling regulator, has shown that almost 10% of teenagers aged 16 to 17 have gambled in the past year, with scratch cards and slot machines proving popular among minors.

almost 10% of teenagers aged 16 to 17 have gambled in the past year

The KSA fears that adults may be purchasing scratch cards on behalf of minors, as only 5% of those surveyed admitted to being refused scratch cards due to their age.

Three age groups monitored

The survey monitored three age groups: those aged 16-17, 18-23, and 24-30. The KSA is concerned by 8% of minors admitting to playing slot machines at land-based premises. Around 69% admitted to gambling in restaurants and 31% confirmed they had gambled in arcades. Only 1% of respondents had ever been refused.

69% admitted to gambling in restaurants and 31% confirmed they had gambled in arcades

Social casino games (5%) and loot boxes (8%) also seemed a worry, with minors able to play online despite laws prohibiting the trading of loot boxes in the Netherlands.

Sports betting and e-sports were significantly lower at 5% and 2%, while there appeared to be zero wagers placed on horse racing.

KSA calls for stricter age controls

The KSA has confirmed it will look to highlight “strict adherence” to the age limit of 18 years when it comes to supervising providers, especially with land-based items.

In a statement, the KSA observed: “There is little age control on playing slot machines and buying scratch cards. This is evident from a relatively large share of minors unjustly admitted [to gambling premises] and a small proportion of minors [that were] rightly refused.”

The Staatsloterij, the Dutch national lottery, continues to be the most popular form of gambling among young people. Results show that 58% of the 24-30 group and 44% of respondents in the 18-24 group admitting to buying a ticket. Of those surveyed, 7% confirmed that they liked to play the lottery despite being too young to legally purchase a ticket.

Minors at risk of gambling problems

The KSA survey also wanted to check whether minors involved in gambling would identify as problem gamblers in later life. Questions included asking if the participant had ever lied to a loved one about their gambling, and if they needed to gamble more cash to reproduce their initial feelings. 2% of those in the 16-17 group answered “yes” to both questions.

The KSA believes that there may be some answers as to how minors are gambling so easily. It said: “In the case of sports betting, it may be that the age is not (properly) verified when participating. And when playing on gaming machines, a possible explanation is that the catering entrepreneur or gaming owner does not adequately monitor the prevention of participation by minors.”

Gambling continues to be a hot topic in the Netherlands as legalized online gambling is supposedly only days away, due to open on July 1 after an earlier six-month delay.