Dutch gambling market to open up despite addiction risk

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Deputy Justice Minister Fred Teeven has been accused by Dutch MPs of doing too little to combat gambling addiction. The opposition has said it will try to prevent proposed legislation on opening up the gambling market being passed, if the deputy minister doesn’t take action.

The Labour Party, Green Left, the Christian Union and the Socialist Party are critical of Mr Teeven’s proposals to reduce the restrictions in the gambling market, including legalising internet gambling.

Risks of addiction Now the Christian Democrats, a smaller partner in the coalition government with Mr Teeven’s Conservative VVD, are also voicing concern about insufficient measures against the risks of addiction.

Holland Casino presently holds a monopoly in the Dutch gambling market. The deputy minister intends introducing more competition in the market and establishing a new gambling watchdog organisation.

MPs say the watchdog would have too little real power when it comes to supervising the industry. The matter will be debated in parliament today.

More women internet gamblers The UK’s public health service, the NHS, claims that an increase in the number of women gamblers is most likely due to internet gambling. The NHS has also established a link between gambling and alcohol abuse. Rates of depression and attempted suicide among gambling addicts are around the national average.

In the UK, betting shops and casinos are traditionally male-dominated, which explains why the explosion in internet gambling appeals particularly to women there. Housewives who stay at home to look after the children are more at risk.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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