Netherlands – Advertising code for online games of chance 2021 released

Relationship between ROK and RVK

The RVK, which entered into force in 2015, partly covers the same subject as the ROK. For example, both advertising codes contain similar provisions regarding unfair advertising, responsible participation, cooperation of participants in advertising and vulnerable groups. It is not surprising that these advertising codes contain similar provisions, since they are both based on the same legal framework[1]. Yet there are also important differences. The provisions of the ROK are often more detailed and go further than the RVK, as explained below.

The ROK provides for the situation where an advertisement relates to both online gambling and other games of chance. In this situation, ROK and RVK apply. In addition, several ROK provisions also still apply to other games of chance. These are the aforementioned additional provisions[2] and specific provisions on the prohibition of reaching an audience of more than 25% made up of minors and young adults.

A number of notable ROK layouts highlighted

Bonuses (paragraph 5)

  • The use of bonuses in advertising for online gambling in broadcast services and outside media is prohibited (Article 5.1).
  • The maximum amount of the welcome bonus depends on the amount of the first deposit (article 5.4).
  • Young adults (18-24 years old) cannot use bonuses (article 5.9).

Channels: contention (paragraph 8)

  • Per advertising break, a maximum of three advertising messages of 30 seconds each may be broadcast for online games of chance and for other so-called limited games of chance together (article 8.1, under a).
  • Joint spots (two-part advertising with a main message and a tag-on) in an advertising block are not permitted (Article 8.1, sub b).
  • Data subjects/actors must be able to unsubscribe from all individual advertising messages at once by means of, for example, a dashboard (Article 8.2).
  • Advertising in or around online games is prohibited (article 8.4).

Channels: groups of vulnerable people (paragraph 9).

  • The television advertising catchment is extended to the Internet: between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., stand-alone video commercials cannot be broadcast via online media (Article 9.1).
  • With regard to individual marketing, indicators and/or filters should be used to the extent possible to exclude vulnerable groups of people (for example, in social media advertising) (Article 9.9).

Position in string (paragraph 12)

  • The online gambling provider will contractually impose its obligations under the ROK on parties that advertise or arrange to advertise its online gambling.

Effective date and transitional period

The ROK entered into force on December 15, 2021 and is initially valid until March 1, 2023. For certain articles, there is a transition period until February 1, 2022, namely for:

  • the obligation, as an online game provider, to ensure that young adults do not use the bonuses;
  • a ban on showing video advertisements for online gambling via online media between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.;
  • the limitation of a maximum of three television spots of a maximum of 30 seconds per advertising break; and
  • specific provisions on the prohibition to reach an audience of more than 25% of minors and young adults.

Final remarks

The creation of the Republic of Korea has been the subject of much debate, and the discussion of online gambling advertising continues. The subject is socially and politically sensitive. With the ROK, market players and the SRC have tried to address societal concerns.

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Carolyn M. Daniel