Marloes Kleinjan joins KSA Advisory Board with mental health focus

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gambling Authority, has named Dr Marloes Kleinjan as the latest addition to its Advisory Board, with a focus on mental health among young consumers.

Kleinjan has experience in the academic study of risk behaviour and young people’s mental wellbeing, having been involved in studies into ‘interfaces between gaming and gambling’ as part of her wider work in the field. 

Her position on the Advisory Council of the KSA will see the appointee focus on prevention of gambling addiction and mental health in relation to games of finance, cooperating with other members of the body, first established in 2014.

“This subject certainly deserves attention. Games sometimes contain elements of gambling that can be harmful,” Kleinjan remarked. “We need to monitor this closely in order to gain more insight into it – it is a relatively young field of research. 

“Children’s rights also play a role in this; sometimes children are tempted to linger in a game for a long time, for example by organising events within such a game. You can then ask yourself whether minors are sufficiently protected against these temptations. More clarity about influencing behaviour in games and what the limits are is highly desirable.”

A particular area which Kleinjan intends to investigate as a KSA Advisory Council member is ‘digital balance’, specifically relating to how people use their digital time in comparison to other activities.

She explained: “With young people, digitiszation is often drawn in the negative, for example by pointing out what is happening on social media. Game addiction also keeps the mind busy. 

“But there are also positive aspects to sitting in front of a screen. Think of education, relaxation, social contacts and learning how to work together. As is so often the case, it’s about the right balance.”

Additional council members include Ronald Prins, Chairman of Hunt & Hackett; Theo Schuyt, Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the VU University Amsterdam; Han Moraal of the Netherlands of Eurojust; and Guda van Noort, Professor of Persuasion & New Media Technologies, University of Amsterdam.

Promotion of safer gambling has become a key objective of the KSA in recent months as the Dutch market continues to surge following the opening up of online verticals on 1 October – advertising spend across the 11 licensed operators now reportedly stands at €23 million

In pursuit of this goal, the regulator has adopted a new safer gambling message, “What does gambling cost you? Stop on time. +18”, which must be adopted by all licensed betting companies by 1 April 2022.

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