Dutch gaming association extends voluntary ad code

The Alberta gaming regulator is accused of illegally operating an online casino.
The Alberta gaming regulator is accused of illegally operating an online casino.

VNLOK has extended the code pending expected legislation banning untargeted ads.

The Netherlands.- The Dutch gambling industry trade association VNLOK has put the expiry date of its voluntary advertising code back to June 1. The move comes as operators await an expected ban on untargeted gambling ads in the Netherlands.

Members of the two groups implemented Advertising Code for Online Games of Chance on December 15 2021, following the launch of the Netherlands’ regulated online gambling market two months earlier.

VNLOK said: “In view of the forthcoming ban on untargeted advertising for online games of chance, the code has now been extended until 1 June 2023 or earlier if the advertising ban is in force.

“In the meantime, licensed providers of online games of chance are evaluating the code together with other parties involved. Naturally, the code will also be brought into line with the new laws and regulations.”

VNLOK members include Holland Casino, FPO Nederland, JOI Gaming, Nederlandse Loterij and ZEbet. VNLOK and another trade association VAN Kansspelen worked together on a draft voluntary code of conduct following the launch of the Netherlands’ regulated igaming market in early October 2021.

VNLOK and another association NOGA have said they will cooperate with an independent research bureau and consult licensed betting and gaming operators, broadcasters, media parties and consumer organisations to ensure the code meets its objectives.

VNLOK added: “A balance is sought between limiting advertising for online games of chance and the aim of the games of chance policy to lead as many players as possible from the illegal offer to the responsible and safe legal offer, an objective for which responsible advertising is essential.”

The Netherlands government has already committed to a ban on untargeted advertising but although this was due to come into effect in January, it hasn’t yet been implemented due to concerns at the Council of State. It’s not expected to come into effect now until at least May.

The ban, which MPs had demanded due to a surge in advertising after the launch of the online market in 2021, will prohibit all gambling ads on TV, radio and in public places. Sports sponsorships will be banned by the end of 2025.

In the meantime, a cross-party group of MPs has suggested a “two-strikes-and-you’re-out” rule for operators whose ads reach young people. They propose that operators whose reach customers aged under 24 more than twice should have their gaming licences suspended or cancelled.

The proposal was made in a series of ten questions submitted to parliament by Mirjam Bikker (Christian Union) Michel van Nispen (Socialist Party), Kees van der Staaij (Reformed Political Party) and Songül Mutluer (Labour).

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