Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has launched a public consultation to gather expert opinion on a national problem gambling helpline, ahead of a tender to select a provider to manage the service.
The service is to be bankrolled via the problem gambling funding body established by the Netherlands Gaming Act, which in turn will be supported by a levy to be paid by licensees.
In its early-stage plans, the KSA said this new funding body will have three core responsibilities. First, it would be responsible for awarding funds to research and projects tackling problem gambling. It will also be responsible for providing anonymous treatment services to players.
Finally, it will provide funding to a national helpline for players, which is to provide treatment, advice and support to players and their relatives, via a website, chat service, email and on the phone. This has been assigned to the KSA under Dutch regulations, though the regulator aims to outsource its development.
But before it can do so, the KSA explained, it aims to gather expert opinion on the nature and the breadth of the services it can offer.
In the consultation document, the regulator said that it aims to ensure the service is available 24 hours a day, both in Dutch and other relevant languages. It should be able to provide objective information based on the most recent scientific developments, as well as tailoring advice on gambling to each caller.
It aims to offer short-term preventative interventions, to help players keep their gambling under control, and where possible connect individuals with addiction treatment, rehabilitation and medical and debt counselling services.
The service must be free of charge and easily accessible, preserve callers’ anonymity, and offer a high quality of service to all those who use it.
The KSA is therefore inviting organisations capable of developing and operating such a service to share how they would manage the project, and to give their opinion on the proposed scope of the project. In particular it aims to understand how these organisations would handle elements such as treatment referrals and coordination with external health and social care providers.
Interested parties have until 13 March to submit their comments, after which the KSA may engage participants in follow-up discussions. It then aims to produce a report on the consultation, which will be released alongside the start of the tender to select a provider, though the date for this has not been set.
The project, which is expected to cost upwards of €750,000 is to be completed by the time the Netherlands gaming market opens for business. The projected go-live date is 1 July, 2021, six months after the original 1 January start date.