Increase in gambling addiction since legalizing online gambling: clinics
Clinics in the Netherlands have noticed a sharp increase in the number of people struggling with a gambling addiction since a change in the law made online gambling legal in October 2021. The gambling addicts are also younger than they are used to, and some have debts of tens of thousands of euros, Trouw reports after speaking to addiction clinics and hotlines.
No one officially keeps figures on gambling addiction, so it is hard to say for sure that there is a correlation with the change to the Gambling Act. But clinics are concerned, according to the newspaper.
Hervitas, a gambling addiction institution in Zeist, reported 50 percent more addicts than before online gambling became legal. "You can feel in your clogs that this has something to do with each other," director Fred Slteutel said to Trouw. According to him, most addicts are between 22 and 35 years old and a "small group" has major financial problems. "Debts of 50,000 euros are no exception."
The Trimbos Institute also noted an increase. A study by Ipsos showed that online gambling becoming legal did not increase the number of online gamblers much, but the amounts involved did go up. This could indicate more addiction.
Minister Franc Weerwind for Legal Protection will talk to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, about the Gamgling Act on Thursday.