Addiction expert Gert-Jan Meerkerk joins KSA senior policy team

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Netherlands gambling authority, has confirmed the appointment of Dr Gert-Jan Meerkerk as its new senior research advisor on gambling addiction and compulsive behaviours. 

Meerkerk is recognised as a figurehead in Dutch healthcare and public welfare, having led Rotterdam-based research unit IVO’s academic studies into addiction, treatment and recovery for the past 25 years.    

Key IVO projects led by Meerkerk have covered all modern lifestyle concerns related to drugs, tobacco, alcohol, social media, games of chance, gaming, porn and smartphone addiction.

Meerkerk joins the KSA’s research and policy development team as the regulatory agency fulfils its final duties, seeking to launch its new Dutch market licensing window on 1 March 2021.

Last month, KSA Chairman René Jansen warned industry leadership that the KSA will uphold the ‘strictest licensing process to verify operators and executive conduct joining the Netherlands online gambling marketplace in 2021.

Furthermore, the KSA was forced to revise the launch of the Netherlands’ online gambling marketplace to 1 September 2021, as Dutch Justice Minister for Legal Protections’ Sander Dekker ordered that final amendments were implemented to safeguard ‘CRUKS’ – Dutch gambling’s new centralised player self-exclusion programme. 

Meerkerk backed the KSA cautious approach by stating: “Next year, the KOA ACT will come into force, legalizing and regulating online gambling.”

He added: “That means there will be more supply and a lot of marketing. I hope and expect to contribute to the knowledge at the Ksa about effective means for addiction prevention. 

“That will be a subject that will receive a lot of attention. Gambling addiction is not a huge problem in the Netherlands at the moment, it must remain that way. Incidentally, I am in favour of the law, because reclamation does not work. It is easier to protect consumers in a legal, regulated market.”

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