VNLOK and NOGA to evaluate ad code ahead of untargeted ban

VNLOK and NOGA to evaluate ad code ahead of untargeted ban

The expiry date for the voluntary advertising code observed by Dutch betting firms has been extended from 1 March 2023 to 1 June 2023, in lieu of potential legislative changes.

Dutch licence holders first adopted the Advertising Code for Online Games of Chance on 15 December, two months after the KOA Act re-regulated the online gambling space, and sits on top of government-mandated marketing policies.

VNLOK, a trade association for licensed Dutch online gaming providers, explained that a forthcoming ban on untargeted advertising is the main reason for the extension.

“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,” a VNLOK  statement explained.

“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.”

The Netherlands is currently set to significantly clamp down on betting marketing and advertising, with Justice Minister Franc Weerwind supporting the legislation.

Proponents of the bill have pointed to a ‘bombardment of advertising’ following the KOA Act regulation in October, and over the past year more and more operators have fallen foul of the KSA for breaching marketing standards.

The legislation will see ‘untargeted advertising’ prohibited, preventing commercials on television, radio or in public or outdoor spaces, changes to online and social media marketing, and an end to sports sponsorships by the end of 2025.

January was initially earmarked as the start date of the ban, but the Dutch Council of State has reservations about some elements of the legislation, and one member stated that ‘it would be a miracle if the current proposals could enter into force before April 1’.

Ahead of the implementation, VNLOK will work alongside the Netherlands other prominent betting trade body, the Netherlands Online Gaming Association (NOGA), will carry out a joint evaluation of the code. 

The duo will cooperate with an independent research bureau and consult with ‘all parties involved’, including licensed betting and gaming operators, broadcasters, media parties and consumer organisations.

Cooperating with these cross-sector stakeholders, VNLOK and NOGA aim to assess and determine whether the current code ‘meets the objectives in practice’.

These objectives are to ensure strong consumer protection by limiting advertising and the exposure of vulnerable people to betting, whilst promoting the legal, regulated betting market in the Netherlands as opposed to unlicensed and black market operators.

VNLOK stated: “Again 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.”

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