Michel Groothuizen steps in as KSA chairman

KSA announced that Jansen was to step down after six years at the helm in October last year. Jansen decided not to stand for reappointment as he reached retirement age at the end of 2023.

Groothuizen’s term will begin on 1 July 2024. Currently he is the deputy director general of the Judicial Institutions Service. Previously, he held the role of director general at the Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychiatry.

He also served as the policy director and director of FEZ in the Ministry of Justice and Security’s administrative department. Groothuizen founded KSA in his role as policy director.

“From 2007 onwards, as policy director, I was responsible, among other things, for the gambling dossier,” explained Groothuizen. “One of my tasks was to establish the Gaming Authority. We succeeded in 2012.”

He added that he is committed to the “challenge” of ensuring safer gambling practices in his new role.

“We had already been working on new legislation for a few years to manage online gambling offerings,” he continued. “It took almost 10 years before the law that was supposed to regulate this actually came into effect. I was long gone by then.

“But I think it is a wonderful challenge at this time to ensure safe gambling in a socially responsible manner and to combat negative consequences, such as gambling addiction.”

Leadership change comes at busy time for Dutch regulation

Groothuizen’s appointment comes after an eventful few weeks for both KSA and the wider Netherlands gambling market.

Earlier this week, measures to improve safer gambling that had been introduced by Franc Weerwind, the Netherlands’ minister of legal protection were submitted to the European Commission and made available for consultation. The amendments were initially announced in December, but this week’s progress means they are one step closer to implementation.

The measures centre around amending articles outlined in the KOA – the Netherlands’ online gambling law – with the aim of making these provisions more airtight and pertinent to preventing gambling harm.

For example, one of the amendments stipulated a contact point for operators. This would mean that an operator must contact a player if they deposit more than €350 per month, €87.50 per week or €12.50 per day. If the person is aged between 18-24, the point is €150 per month, €37.50 per week and €5.35 per day.

Another amendment would require all licensed Dutch operators to display bets, winnings and losses in euros.

“These changes will place additional demands on the licensee and increase their burdens, but the additional demands are necessary to provide better protection for the players and point out the risks of gambling,” reads the draft text.

KSA issued largest ever fine of €19.6m to Gammix Limited

Groothuizen will also be stepping into the role following KSA issuing its largest ever fine – €19.6m (£16.8m/$21.2m) to Gammix Limited last week.

This was the result of two prior investigations into Gammix – one in 2022, where the operator received a warning and one in 2023, where it was ordered to pay €4.4m for not complying with an order to stop operating.

In its latest regulator action, KSA noted that Gammix “has not taken any measures to ban players from the Netherlands”. KSA had closely monitored a number of Gammix-operated sites in 2022 and 2023, which included Rantcasino.com, Betoriginal.com and Nordslot.com.

Gammix hit back against the fine, calling it “outrageous and unsubstantiated” and promising to contest KSA’s ruling.

“The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated,” said Phil Pearson, director of Gammix.

“Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.”

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