Addiction / Care

1. What exactly are the dangers of gambling?

For a small group of people, gambling can be a dangerous game. The danger of gambling is that you lose control of playing. You want to win so badly that you don’t want to stop anymore. Maybe, the most addictive part of gambling is the feeling you get when you win. So much adrenaline going through your body can be an amazing feeling for some people.

The “advantage” of gambling is that it can give you a great rush which makes you forget all things bad in life. Unfortunately, misery often only gets worse. Gambling becomes a very big part of your life: you think about gambling all day, you gamble, you are trying to get money to gamble, you lie because your family can’t find out you are gambling and you neglect your study, work, partner, family and friends. A good video about addiction is Nugget.

Signals that can point to addiction are:

  • You play longer than you actually intended
  • Gambling is costing you more and more money
  • Your friends and family tell you you gamble too much
  • You feel guilty about gambling
  • Your intention is not to gamble anymore, but you keep going back
  • You get into financial problems
  • You think about gambling more and more
  • You lie about gambling more
  • You neglect your family, friends, study and/or work
  • You think everything will be alright when you make one last collar

2. Which games of chance are potentially addictive and which aren’t?

It is impossible to say one game of chance is more addictive than another. Sooner, we will see a certain type of player which is more or less sensitive to becoming addicted. We do distinguish between short-odds and long-odds games of chance. When it comes to short-odds games of chance you get a quick result after placing the bet. Examples of these are: slot machines, roulette, black jack ect. With the long-odds games of chance it takes longer to find out whether you have won or lost. Lotteries are a good example here. We think short-odds games of chance are more prone to become addicted to.

3. What are the criteria of gambling addiction?

The criteria of gambling addiction are described in the DSM V. This is a worldwide used book in which all psychiatric disorders are classified. The DSM V does not speak of gambling addiction, but of Gambling Disorder. When you live up to four symptoms in a year there can be a problem with your gambling.

  • You have to gamble with bigger amounts to reach the wanted level of excitement.
  • You are annoyed or restless when you cut down or stop gambling.
  • Failed attempts to cut down or stop or take control back on gambling.
  • Being obsessed with gambling (thinking a lot about previous gamble experiences, thinking about ways of making money or thinking or preventing a next possibility to gamble etc.)
  • Gambling a lot when feeling discomfort. (fear, scared or depressed feelings)
  • Starting to gamble again to win lost money back.
  • Lying about the amount of hours you gamble or the amount of money you have lost by doing it.
  • Putting relationships, work or career at stake because of gambling.
  • Trusting on others for money or easing debts created by gambling.

The AGOG, Anonieme Gokkers Omgeving Gokkers, uses the following definition: According to AGOG, someone is addicted when he plays a lot, loses a lot of money and negatively influences their own life and the lives of people in their surroundings, and because of this gets into serious financial, social and mental problems. At AGOG we say that someone is addicted when he or she spends too much time and too much money on gambling. We do not make a difference between the terms “excessive gambling”, “problematic gambling”, “pathological gambling” or being a gambling addict.

4. Friends or family often think I have a gambling problem, because I spend many hours playing and winning online and live – poker for example. How can I reassure them?

Often, the people around you are not wrong about worrying. You could ask them what the reason is for them to believe you have a problem. Maybe they don’t see you around at parties anymore, your behaviour has changed, or they see you are mainly preoccupied with playing. Also important, is to show them what you are doing. Maybe you can show them how it works to play, for example, poker on the internet? You can tell them what you like about playing and answer their questions. Probably, it is also nice to spend a bit more time with them again if you have not been doing so lately?

And if you are indeed a winning player (and with poker this may indeed be the case, provided you are very good – and disciplined) then you could show your friends and family statistics and graphs of your results of the last months/years. Or, let them watch during an online session.

5. Where can I go if I want to test non-committically whether my gambling behaviour is ok?

On the internet you can do several self tests. With these you answer a certain amount of questions in a short period of time and you will get the results and advice immediately. Good tests to see whether your gambling behaviour is ok are:

  • Self test Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen
  • Self test Jellinek
  • Self test Gokken de Baas
  • Self test Gokkeninfo

6. What role does my General Practitioner play when it comes to a (possible) gambling addiction?

It is very wise to go and speak to your family doctor if gambling has become a problem for you. He or she can, if treatment is necessary, refer you to an institution for addiction treatment. Here you can see where you can find an institution near you.

7. What are my options when I think I have an addiction problem?

The first option is to see if you can get control back over playing by using the tips for playing responsibly. Maybe it is also wise to take a break in playing for a while. Important is also that you talk to someone who is very close to you. It helps not to make a secret out of it, and if you can get support from maybe your partner or a friend. You can also non-commitically and for free get in touch with Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen for advice or someone listening to your story.

Tips for playing responsibly.

  • Set a time-limit and stick to it
  • Accept your winnings
  • Never borrow money to play
  • Never play with money you can not risk losing
  • Take your loss. Do not try to win your loss back
  • Leave your debit and credit card at home.
  • Do not play when you are angry, upset or emotional
  • Do not play on multiple slot machines at once
  • Find another purpose for the money you would otherwise have played with
  • Reward yourself for every step in the right direction
  • Do not play under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Make sure you can always think straight!

8. Will the treatment of a gambling addiction be covered, or do I need to pay for the costs myself?

A treatment within an institution for addiction treatment will usually be covered by your health insurance. You will have to pay your own risk part. You do need a referral from your family doctor. It is wise to check whether your health insurance also covers treatment.

9. What are the differences and similarities between a gambling addiction and being addicted to alcohol or drugs?

There are many similarities between a gambling addiction and for example being addicted to alcohol or drugs. In both cases you have lost control and are dependent on the goods or the gambling. With gambling we speak of a behavioral addiction and with alcohol and drugs of an addiction to goods. With gambling we see far less physical dependency, although when quitting there can definitely be withdrawal symptoms.

Often, besides the addiction, we also see other psychiatric problems. A video with a good example about addiction: “How does an addiction work?”

10. Which options for voluntary exclusion do I have with land based providers?

The entertainment centre offers you the possibility to agree upon a temporary access refusal order. You will put yourself on the “white list”, also known as voluntary access refusal order. Here, both parties agree upon the mutual agreement that you won’t be allowed to play in the entertainment centre anymore for a period of 3 to 6 months. Should you still enter the entertainment centre in this period, employees will remind you of the made agreement. You can arrange this yourself in the entertainment centre. Always bring some passport photos with you. Sometimes you can unregister for multiple entertainment centres at once. Very wise to check and do!

At Holland Casino, you can also apply for a restriction to visit or a ban to enter. This is possible at location or via this link.

11. Which options for voluntary exclusion do I have with online providers?

Online providers also offer the possibility to exclude yourself. You can exclude yourself for certain time frames, several games of chance or completely.

Most providers have a responsible gaming page on their website:

  • Unibet
  • Pokerstars
  • Betfair
  • Bettson

12. What is the difference between short odd and long odd games of chance?

When it comes to short-odds games of chance you get a quick result after placing the bet. Examples of these are: slot machines, roulette, black jack ect. With the long-odds games of chance it takes longer to find out whether you have won or lost. Lotteries are a good example here. We think short-odds games of chance are more prone to become addicted to compared to long-odds games.

13. What can I do if I have gotten into financial problems because of gambling?

It is very important that you make sure you don’t get into further trouble. So, don’t go gambling in the hope you win money to pay off your debts. Then you will take a great risk. Make sure you have an overview of your income, expenses and overdue bills. Seek help with finding a solution. The website “Zelf je schulden regelen” by the NIBUD provides a lot of information and tools.

14. Is it true that other people (friends, family members) can nominate me for exclusion via CRUKS when they think I have an addiction problem?

It is true that there are extensive plans to set up the Centraal Register Uitsluitingen Kansspelen. This is a central database managed by the kansspelautoriteit where everybody who does not want to gamble anymore can register. Then, you no longer can play games of chance legally, neither online nor landbased. It also offers the possibility to involuntarily get excluded for example by a provider of games of chance or by a partner/family member or a friend. This proposal still has to be approved by the first and second chamber of the government and be spoken about in a debate. This debate will probably take place mid 2016.

Tips for playing responsibly

1. What is playing responsibly?

Playing responsibly is: making sure a game stays a game; making sure the fun parts of gambling hold the upper hand of possible downsides; dealing with it in such a way that you can control your emotions, minimise the chance of getting into financial trouble and taking decisions that give gambling a natural position in your life, without significant damage to aspects like relationships or work.

2. Is “grabbing profit” also playing responsibly?

Yes. With most games of chance you are always behind the house, this means, the longer you play, the bigger your losses usually are. If making a profit during a night is an important indicator of having a good night, it might be wise to stop playing after having won a nice share and go home feeling good.

3. Is there a list/overview of simple tips for playing responsibly?

Certainly. You can find the list over here.

4. When I lose at a casino, I often higher my bets to make up for my loss – and usually I also succeed in this. Why is this still seen as being irresponsible?

Because using this system you will build up a pattern of indeed, relatively often, making up for slight losses, combined with once in a while some enormous losses. You have to remind yourself that winning or losing at one night is not very relevant; it is all about the winnings or losses during a long period of time. You can better lose €200 ten times and “take your loss” than trying to make up for losing €200 9 times until you are even or slightly winning and then on the 10th night raising the €200 loss to let’s say €4000 or even more. It is important to realise that no matter how big your loss is during a night, every bet you place with a negative expectancy will lead to more losses, despite whether your system with 1,2 or even 10 sessions in a row you will be able to fix your loss. After a period of weeks, months or years you will always pay the bill of irresponsible or expensive bets and your results will be more in line with the number, height and accumulated loss of your bets.

5. Why is going back in limits seen as sensible when things are down?

Because players who are at a loss usually make worse decisions: mainly emotional instead of rational, or too much focussed on retrieving lost money. (Which usually leads to even higher losses.) Specifically when it comes to poker there is an additional argument: with lower limits, the quality of opponents is usually lower, so the chance of winning / playing with an edge, higher.

6. I usually drink while I am gambling, and sometimes I also use coke. This helps me to stay focussed. Why are alcohol and drugs discouraged in combination with gambling?

Because this usually influences the quality of your decisions. It could lead to less informed decisions, for example less sharpness and focus (too much alcohol) or too much sharpness which causes unwise decisions.

7. Do the tips for playing responsibly also always apply for games where there is an edge?

To a much lesser degree. Tips like: “Grab your winnings” or “Don’t continue playing for too long” work with the premise that with every bet you place there is a negative profit-expectation. But when you are ahead of your opponents or (does not happen often) of the house, there will be a lot of value in making hours, long sessions etc. Do notice: when it comes to gambling, we do not often see an edge and to get an edge in games that require skills it often takes a lot of practice.

8. Which possibilities are there for the internet specifically?

When you use Google Chrome and you want to keep track of time better, you can install the free app “stay focussed”. If you want to block certain pages in Chrome, then install the “site block” app. When you feel you have really lost control over your gambling behaviour then you can install “GamBlock”. This programme makes sure you don’t get access to gambling websites on your personal computer.

Questions about het Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen

1. What is Het Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen?

The mission of the centre for playing games of chance responsibly is delivering a structural and constructive contribution to a responsible, safe and attractive offer in games of chance in the Netherlands. Together with several stakeholders, among whom providers of games of chance, we have already been working for years to reach our goals. During the past few years we have intensively been dealing with regulations and legislation, local and national policy. We will continue doing so. Our motto: “You have to be there where the player is!”

Preventing problems in the world of games of chance, by executing a good prevention policy, is one of our areas of expertise. Our Consultancy department supports and advises providers during the entire process so they live up to and keep living up to their legal duty of care.

In November 2019 we founded the Casino Academy. We offer a broad and cohesive range of educational and training courses for casinos. The Centre for playing responsibly is registered with the CRKBO ( Centraal Register Kortdurend Beroepsonderwijs). The register institutions show educational institutions that meet the requirements of the quality-code for training institutions for short-term vocational education.

Our Support department is always there for players and their loved ones. They can come to us free and anonymously for advice and help. This is possible via telephone, whatsapp or email. You will always get a reaction within 24 hours.

We offer the possibility to create a custom made package of services, with high quality and against a good price. The unique combination of Consultancy, the Casino Academy and Support is unique in the Netherlands!

2. As a player what can I expect of het Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen?

A sentence you can often come across is: “ We want to combine knowledge, experience and strength in the interest of the player.” This means help for the player in the broader sense. In political terms, by emphasising the importance of speedy regulation of online gambling with the main goal of protecting the consumer. But definitely also the area of easily accessible and if wanted anonymous assistance. Every player can reach us in many ways for the most simple tips to play responsibly, for advice on how to deal with specific problems or for guidance or motivation towards the required care. We always work in the interest of the player, do nothing without permission of the player and keep as an important end-goal, the player stays in control of their own playing behaviour.

 

 

 

Financially: Safety, losses, allowances

1. How safe is my money with an online provider?

Relatively safe with online providers who already have a licence and/or are listed in many countries. They usually use conditions which allow players’ money to be stored on a separate account and can not be used for operational policy-making. Therefore, players’ money stays available even if the company goes through rough weather financially. However, there are also providers who do not offer this separation, a bank-run might happen when there are rumours or facts about liquidity problems within these companies. Because online gambling is still illegal, the protection given by the government is different when it comes to online gambling compared to land based gambling where assets can be guaranteed up to €100.000. Players’ money can only be truly safe with legal providers within the regulated field. Nevertheless, it will still be checked whether the player has taken enough precautions (in case the money has been stolen), and it also has to be seen whether the government is willing to vouch for a case that went wrong with a regulated online provider. But roughly, regulation will be good for enlarging safety.

2. Can I hold an online provider accountable for my losses?

And what about a land based provider? You can try, but the route to court is usually unsuccessful. When the provider can sufficiently prove they have lived up to the duty of care, there usually is nothing to be done anymore and will they account for your own responsibility.

3. What can I do if I have gotten into financial trouble because of gambling?

You can get in touch with a low-entry hub like Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen to find out about your possibilities. This centre will also lead you to addiction care, but only when the player indicates this is a good idea. Assistance with debts is always essential when it comes to financial problems, but unfortunately we see this is not always a vast part of treatment in gambling problems.

4. Will treatment of gambling addiction be covered for or do I need to pay for the costs myself?

A treatment at an institution for addiction care will be covered by your health insurance. You do need to pay for your own risk, you always need a referral from your family doctor.

Chances of winning / Edge / Luck & Skills

1. Are there any roulette systems that work?

The short answer is: No. Many systems with a kind of duplication of your bet until the moment you win (after which you go back to a lower bet) have a pattern of many small winnings and a few very big losses. Because casinos have maximum bets (and even if they didn’t, you as a player probably don’t have infinite money to bet), there no doubt will come a moment you will not be able to duplicate your last bet. Core of roulette is a negative expectancy for every bet you place and that is why you are always behind house, no matter what system you play with. You can enlarge your chances of a winning session by systems, but that is artificial, for example by quitting immediately when you are at a win. These kinds of tactics are good for many nights with small winnings and still some nights with relatively big losses so at the end you will still be overdrawn.

2. If red has been called a few times in a row, How big will the chance be for a black call next? Bigger or smaller?

The chance is completely identical. Every swing at roulette is completely independent of the last one. Like they say in casino terms: “the roulette wheel does not hold a memory.” The fact that they do give you books and all the last numbers to write down is just to give the guest the feeling that they do have some control on the outcome, but in reality there is no influence.

3. Which games have the possibility of winning in the long term?

With poker (when you are significantly better than your opponent), and with betting on sports (when you are structurally betting better than the bookie or your opponent). With blackjack only when you are playing with fewer decks or as a cardcounter. Sometimes also on slot machines (when you are able to calculate when a machine is “positive”). In general the saying goes: Playing against the house can rarely be won.

4. Is it possible to view the paying percentage of slot machines?

This is very important information for a player, but the information is not easily accessible. Both live and online we have not been able to find a good overview of this information. We will ask thoroughly and when we do have an overview we will share it at this website. There is a discussion whether this information should always be accessible for players; from a players point of view this would be desirable when it comes to good winning chances.

5. I have heard the advice, “when it is not your night, you better stop”. Is that true?

It sounds like a good and smart tip, but in fact it is nonsense. In case of a pure game of chance like roulette every swing is independent of the last. So whether you are €500 behind or €500 winning, it doesn’t say anything about your chances of actually winning at the next swing. Games where skill and knowledge plays a part, e.g. poker, it is a little bit different, here it should be your best game. In case you are not completely able to do so, quitting might be a better option. Not because things have been down so far, but because your mental state doesn’t allow you to make optimal future decisions. You always have to consider whether your next move has a chance of winning or not. Then it doesn’t matter whether you have had losses or winnings in the past turns. “It’s all one session.” What is true is that it is smart to keep your sessions as short as possible. After all, the less bets you place, the lower your bets are, the smaller your losses will be in the long term.

6. It is often said poker is a game of skills. But is this the case, in the long term everybody gets the same amount of good and bad cards?

That is true, but the difference is what you do with them. An extreme example is that your best possible hand, the nuts on the river, would fold. Or that you would call on the river with a hand so weak, it could not even call you bluff. These examples show that it all depends on the quality of your decisions which determine the end-result. Maximizing your winnings when you have a good card, recognizing good spots to successfully call bluff or semi-bluff and minimising losses in situations where your good hand has obviously been beaten.

7. Which percentages can you be ahead or behind with games like roulette, blackjack or poker?

With roulette 2.7% behind; ahead of the house is impossible with this game. With blackjack it depends on the quality of your game: with an optimal strategy you are usually just behind house, but with a sub-optimal strategy you can still be much farther behind the house than with roulette. Being ahead with blackjack is only possible via counting cards and/ or playing with fewer decks cards, and even then the lead of the house is very small. With poker it is difficult to say. It depends on the quality of your game compared to your opponents and also of the height of the rake or fee the provider takes with every game or tournament. The higher the costs, and the higher the quality of your opponents compared to your own playing quality, the smaller the chance of even having an edge. Pokerplayers usually analyse their edge using ROI (return on investment; usually an estimation based on results so far). Very talented and trained players can get a good edge, however getting this long-term edge is far from easy and a single good result is definitely not the same as having an edge.

8. Are play-money games a good practice for real-money games?

With real games of chance, it sometimes is. You can use the rules and learn the aspects of the game without losing money. Important is whether the provider has the same chances of winning in play-money games as in real-money games. Some providers offer better chances in play-money games to make them switch to real-money games, where you then find out you don’t win that often and in the long term even lose a lot of money. When it comes to skill games and when you play against opponents instead of the house this can be a serious downside, because your opponents might not be as serious as in real-money games. Therefore it might be easier to win play-money games and you will soon feel ready for real-money games, only to find out your opponents in real-money games are much better than you.

9. Are the tips given by Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen also always for games where there is an edge?

To a much lesser degree. Tips like: “Grab your winnings” or “Don’t continue playing for too long” work with the premise that with every bet you place there is a negative profit-expectation. But when you are ahead of your opponents or (does not happen often) of the house, there will be a lot of value in making hours, long sessions etc. Do notice: when it comes to gambling, we do not often see an edge and to get an edge in games that require skills it often takes a lot of practice.

Information about playing: Poker, Lotteries, betting on sports, slot machines etc.

1. Which percentages can you be behind or ahead with games like roulette, blackjack or poker?

With roulette there is an advantage with the bank, which is guaranteed because there are (in case of French roulette) 37 possibilities (numbers 1-36 and zero) while there is being paid like there are only 36 squares. The advantage for the bank is 1/37th part which is 2.7% of the entire bet per swing. It can be 1.35% with “singular chances” (red/black, even/odd numbered or high or low). Then applies the rule of sharing the difference when zero is played (partager) and the player receives half of its bet. In short, with roulette with 1 zero between 1.35 and 2.7% backlog and with 2 zeroes between 2.7 and 5.4% backlog. With black jack being behind or ahead is less clear. As a player you can have an edge with 1 deck of cards by playing an optimal strategy, but the way they play it in the casinos it is with multiple decks and the advantage is usually for the casino unless you are a “card counter”. (And they are usually not allowed in casinos). This advantage for the house can usually be far more than with playing roulette when a player doesn’t play an optimal strategy. With poker, as players you play against each other and not against the house. When you have a better strategy than your opponents, you can end up playing for a win in the long term. However, always with a short term factor of luck, and most of all, your advantage/edge over the other players has to be so big that you can also take the percentage skimming from the casino.

2. Which options are there to play poker landbased and/or online?

There are several sites online to play poker in all kinds of varieties 24/7. Officially however, poker is still not legal, although KOA will change this soon probably. Playing poker in landbased Holland Casinos is legal however. Cheaper options are playing in the pub, at cafes or right at home with friends. At home with friends is always legal, for playing in a pub or bar it depends on the height of bets and whether or not the game is played for profit for the provider.

3. How does poker differ from other games of chance?

There are many differences. Most importantly: With poker you play against other players, so not against the house. When you have a better strategy than your opponents, you can start playing for the win in the long term and that is not the case with most other games of chance. For these reasons poker is often seen as a game of skills, even though legally it is still regarded differently in the Netherlands.

4. It is often said poker is a game of skills. But is this the case, in the long term everybody gets the same amount of good and bad cards?

That is true, but the difference is what you do with them. An extreme example is that your best possible hand, the nuts on the river, would fold. Or that you would call on the river with a hand so weak, it could not even call you bluff. These examples show that it all depends on the quality of your decisions which determine the end-result. Maximizing your winnings when you have a good card, recognizing good spots to successfully call bluff or semi-bluff and minimising losses in situations where your good hand has obviously been beaten.

5. Which options are there to play slot machines online and/or land based?

You can play at Holland Casino or an entertainment centre. You can also play on a slot machine in a pub or bar. These machines are specially designed to be used in the hospitality industry. You can place lower bets and the machines are also less advanced, so less possibilities. These machines are also called Nijpelskasten, after politician Ed Nijpels who implemented this system in 1995.

6. Is it possible to view the paying percentage of slot machines?

This is very important information for a player, but the information is not easily accessible. Both live and online we have not been able to find a good overview of this information. We will ask thoroughly and when we do have an overview we will share it at this website. There is a discussion whether this information should always be accessible for players; from a players point of view this would be desirable when it comes to good winning chances.

7. Is it smart to play with several lines when it comes to slot machines? Can I improve my chances doing this?

Usually not. Normally the ratio stays exactly the same e.g. instead of 1 line of 50,10 you now play with 8 lines of €0,10, in both cases you have the exact same chance of winning. And because slot machines usually have a negative expectancy of winning / being behind the house, playing with multiple lines will only mean you will lose 8 times as much. There is an important exception however: (online) casinos or slot machines with a jackpot often demand a player to have multiple lines, or more than the minimum bet to qualify for winning the jackpot. In these cases, playing with multiple lines could decrease the backlog on the house to a certain percentage, this because of the small chance of that one big win you otherwise would not have. However with less percent backlog, because of the higher bets / multiple lines the player will often make even more loss per line than he would have had before with only one line.

8. Which options are there to be betting on sports online and/or land based?

Landbased and online, Toto is the only legal option. All other providers don’t have a licence at the moment, and strictly speaking are illegal according to the law.

9. Are there any roulette systems that work?

The short answer is: No. Many systems with a kind of duplication of your bet until the moment you win (after which you go back to a lower bet) have a pattern of many small winnings and a few very big losses. Because casinos have maximum bets (and even if they didn’t, you as a player probably don’t have infinite money to bet), there no doubt will come a moment you will not be able to duplicate your last bet. Core of roulette is a negative expectancy for every bet you place and that is why you are always behind the house, no matter what system you play with. You can enlarge your chances of a winning session by systems, but that is artificial, for example by quitting immediately when you are at a win. These kinds of tactics are good for many nights with small winnings and still some nights with relatively big losses so at the end you will still be overdrawn.

10. If red has been called a few times in a row, How big will the chance be for a black call next? Bigger or smaller?

The chance is completely identical. Every swing at roulette is completely independent of the last one. Like they say in casino terms: “the roulette wheel does not hold a memory.” The fact that they do give you books and all the last numbers to write down is just to give the guest the feeling that they do have some control on the outcome, but in reality there is no influence.

11. Why are blackjack players sometimes denied access to a casino?

In most cases this happens to card counters: players who count which cards have already left the game, and knowing this, can adjust their decisions. This could mean, the casino is lagging behind on the player, and in the long term, the player will win from the casino. Although this tactic is not cheating, but just optimizing your strategy, the consequence is often that access is denied to the casino. Online, we only see this is in the unlikely case of a blackjack player who uses an optimal strategy and maybe some software to be able to win from the provider. Card counting in online games usually does not grant a huge advantage because of the use of random card generators / reshuffle every hand of the virtual deck.

12. Does it make a difference whether you play jackblack with one pack or multiple packs?

Yes. For the player, playing with one pack makes it easier to get an edge ahead of the casino, be ahead of the game, as it is also called. After all, when many or few aces have already left the deck, at the end of the pack it is easier to decide on a strategic decision by guessing which cards are still in the pack. The more packs you use, the smaller the effect, and also the smaller the chance a player can get ahead of the house. Online, we see this does not happen at all. Here they use random card generators / reshuffle every hand of the virtual deck.

 

The Law KOA

1. Are online games of chance illegal?

Yes, this is the case. The law “kansspelen Op Afstand” (Playing games of chance at a distance) (KOA) regulates online gambling. The entry into force of the law makes it possible for online providers to apply for a permit with the Kansspelautoriteit. After this it will be legal to play with providers that have a permit approved by the kansspelautoriteit.

2. When I win money online, do I need to pay taxes over it? And what about winning at “normal”, land based casinos?

At the moment you are liable for tax online, yes indeed, on an allegedly illegal activity. There is a flat fee of 29% on your monthly income. Ordinary, land based casinos are seen as national providers and any income here is free of taxes. Part of the legislative proposal KOA is that the online duty of paying taxes shifts from player to provider.

3. What are the current rules on the law of games of chance, which changes are at stake?

According to the current rules, online games of chance are illegal. The law “Kansspelen Op Afstand” (KOA) will regulate online gambling. Later, (target date 1 July, 2021) online providers will be able to apply for a permit to offer their services legally to Dutch players. Online providers now have to live up to certain criteria drawn up by the Kansspelautoriteit, including not being allowed to use advertising or communication specifically aimed at Dutch players. If they do not live up to those criteria, they won’t be able to apply for a permit.

4. What do these changes around the law for Kansspelen op Afstand mean for players?

The changes will make online gambling legal. A broader legal range of games, a shift in duty of taxes from player to provider and duty of care for the provider, which should lead to better and sooner tracking down signals of possible gambling addiction and this can lead to a better and more effective care.

5. What do the changes in the Law for Kansspelen op Afstand mean for providers?

There will be a duty of care for the provider, which will lead to better and sooner tracking down signals of possible gambling addiction and this can lead to a better and more effective care. Providers who live up to the criteria of the permit of the Kansspelautoriteit will get a permit, will become legal and also have to pay taxes in the Netherlands.

6. How does CRUKS (Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen) work in reality?

CRUKS consists of two parts: Voluntary exclusion for casino games by the player himself, or involuntary by a provider or next of kin. The biggest part of CRUKS will be formed by voluntary exclusions, where the central register will take care of exclusion with all providers, online and land based. At the moment, people are working hard to get CRUKS up and running when the law KOA is put into effect. (estimated 1, Januari 2021)

7. Is it true that other people (friends, family members) can nominate me for exclusion via CRUKS when they think I have an addiction problem?

It is true that there are extensive plans to set up the Centraal Register Uitsluitingen Kansspelen. This is a central database managed by the kansspelautoriteit where everybody who does not want to gamble anymore can register. Then, you no longer can play games of chance legally, neither online nor landbased. It also offers the possibility to involuntarily get excluded for example by a provider of games of chance or by a partner/family member or a friend.

8. When will the Law KOA start being active?

Right now, playing games of chance online is prohibited. The current legal regime knows no possibilities to grant a permit when it comes to providing online gambling. This is about to change. Last February 19, 2019, the first chamber accepted the legislative proposal Kansspelen op Afstand. On November 15, 2019, Minister Dekker ( judicial protection) wrote to the members of the 1st and 2nd chamber that they are thriving to bring the law into force on 1 January, 2021. The most recent development is the sending of two letters and a conclusion to parliament on March 3, 2020. As soon as the law has become active, it will be possible to apply for permits at Ksa. Again half a year later, the online market will open.

The law KOA is also a form of modernisation in other aspects in the world of games of chance: many casinos and entertainment centres will demand extra money for prevention of addictions. (see also : Law KOA: Also consequences for physical games of chance).

On July 24, 2019, the department of justice and safety offered the lower regulation of the law Kansspelen op afstand for consultation. The offer ran until September 18, 2019. The lower regulation has not been established yet.

On July 12, 2019, the Ksa published a concept policy-rule which will give a first indication to possible permit applyers about the contents of the test of reliability, keeping the Postema-motion in mind.

9. How do the current en futural national gambling legislation align itself to European guidelines/regulations?

Many European countries have already transferred to regulation of online games of chance some years ago. The Netherlands is clearly in the rearguard of Europe. This is why current threats of infringement proceedings are introduced by the European Union, because the current state monopoly is against the free movement of goods.

 

Land based games of chance / live casinos

1. What kinds of land based casinos are there?

A difference is being made between Holland casinos and entertainment centres. At Holland casino you can play live table games like roulette and black jack. You can also play a poker tournament at Holland casino. At Holland casino you can place higher bets and thus win more but also lose more money. The admission age is 18 and you always have to identify yourself. There are 14 branches spread throughout the country. You pay for food and drinks. In the entertainment centres. There are no croupiers. You can only find machines like slot machines and roulette tables. The admission age can differ per county. In some counties you have to be 21. The minimum age is always 18. You do not have to identify yourself except when there is doubt about your age. Sometimes, a poker tournament is organised, but this will be done as a promotional action. Food and drinks are free. Sometimes drinking alcohol is also an option, but usually it isn’t.

2. Are all these land based casinos legal?

Holland casino is the casino of the state of the Netherlands and is legal. The entertainment centres are legal and are supervised by the authorities of games of chance. You can check whether an entertainment centre has a permit at the website of the authorities. More information about entertainment centres can be found at Gokwijzer or the VAN Automatenbranch website. Have you had encounters with illegal gambling? Please contact the authorities of games of chance.

3. Which products are offered at land based casinos?

And for which limits can be played for? Holland casino is the only venue that can offer table games like roulette and black jack. This means there are croupiers working at Holland casino. Holland casino is also the only venue that can offer poker tournaments. There are no croupiers at entertainment centres. Here you can only find machines like slot machines and roulette tables. Sometimes a promotional poker tournament or bingo will be organised. Limits at Holland casino are higher than at entertainment centres.

4. Which options for voluntary exclusion do I have at land based providers?

At Holland casino you can apply for a ban to enter for a certain period. Another option is applying for a restriction to visit. You decide yourself how often – up to 8 times a month – you think it is responsible to visit the casino. A ban to enter or a restriction to visit applies to all venues of Holland casino and they run for a period of six to twelve months, or an indefinite period of time (with a minimum of a year) and can not be terminated in between. After this period of time, you will be invited to meet with one of our employees to see whether you can visit the casino again. You will always be informed about the option to have a temporary ban to enter. The entertainment centre or casino offers the possibility to agree upon a temporary access refusal order. You will put yourself on the “white list”, also known as voluntary access refusal order. Here, both parties agree upon the mutual agreement that you won’t be allowed to play in the entertainment centre anymore for a period of 3 to 6 months. Should you still enter the entertainment centre in this period, employees will remind you of the made agreement. More information about playing responsibly and voluntary exclusions can also be found at Gokwijzer.

5. Can a land based or live casino refuse entry to me as a player? If so, on what grounds?

Yes, they can. For example when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, show aggressive behaviour, cause trouble for other guests or don’t stick to the rules of the casino.

Online Games of Chance

1. Are online games of chance illegal?

Yes, strictly, this is the case. The law “kansspelen Op Afstand” (Playing games of chance at a distance) (KOA) regulates online gambling. The entry into force of the law makes it possible for online providers to apply for a permit with the Kansspelautoriteit. After this it will be legal to play with providers that have a permit approved by the kansspelautoriteit.

2. What does ‘duty of care for the provider’ mean exactly?

It means a provider of online games of chance plays an important role in preventing and recognising problematic game behaviour. It is one of the permitted conditions of the law KOA to prove that providers take their duties seriously, irresponsible game behaviour is quickly detected and follow up steps are taken immediately. For example, getting in touch with the player and informing them about help and advice. This, however, does not mean the player is not also responsible for his own behaviour.

3. Can I hold an online provider accountable for my losses?

You can try, but the route to court is usually unsuccessful. When the provider can sufficiently prove they have lived up to the duty of care, there usually is nothing to be done anymore and will they account for your own responsibility.

4. Which options for voluntary exclusion do I have with online providers?

Usually there are several options, varying from a short ‘cool-off period’ (usually two weeks), till 6 months, a year or even irrevocable voluntary exclusion. At the moment, the options vary per provider, but we expect, with the law KOA, to have all options to be the same with all providers.

5. How safe is my money with an online provider?

Relatively safe with online providers who already have a licence and/or are listed in many countries. They usually use conditions which allow players’ money to be stored on a separate account and can not be used for operational policy-making. Therefore, players’ money stays available even if the company goes through rough weather financially. However, there are also providers who do not offer this separation, a bank-run might happen when there are rumours or facts about liquidity problems within these companies. Because online gambling is still illegal, the protection given by the government is different when it comes to online gambling compared to land based gambling where assets can be guaranteed up to €100.000. Players’ money can only be truly safe with legal providers within the regulated field. Nevertheless, it will still be checked whether the player has taken enough precautions (in case the money has been stolen), and it also has to be seen whether the government is willing to vouch for a case that went wrong with a regulated online provider. But roughly, regulation will be good for enlarging safety.

6. Is there an online identification duty? How strict is the 18+ rule?

There is. To play online you have to be 18+, and providers really have to stick to this rule. However, in the current landscape it is often possible to play online and put in money based on a false date of birth, and only in case of winnings you will be asked to identify yourself. We expect that after regulation, you will need to identify immediately when registering, while this will have to be checked due to permitted conditions of regulated online providers.

7. Do these rules also apply for (play-money) games? Why/not?

Play-money does not have the 18+ restriction, because there is no money that can be lost. Voices go up that say this should be 18+ restricted, because it teaches young players how to gamble, sometimes in a situation where the odds are higher than in a real-money game and doing so, we might create a possible problematic situation in the future.