Advertising Code for Online Games of Chance (ROK)
1. Scope of Application
This Code applies to advertising by the operators of online games of chance and to advertising for specific other games of chance in so far as indicated, all if and in so far as such advertising is also targeted at the Netherlands. This Code does not affect the Dutch Betting and Gambling Act or the relevant regulations based on that Act, such as the Decree Recruitment, Advertising and Addiction Prevention Games of Chance and the Regulation Recruitment, Advertising and Addiction Prevention Games of Chance. The Advertising Code for games of chance offered by licence holders pursuant to the Betting and Gambling Act (Reclamecode voor Kansspelen or “RVK”) only applies to advertising to which this code is applicable if and in so far as that advertising is also advertising for games of chance other than online games of chance.
The ROK concerns a new category of games of chance admitted to the Dutch market: online games of chance. In addition, a few of the provisions also concern other games of chance. Like the RVK, the ROK only concerns advertising for online and other games of chance offered by licence holders. Advertising for non-licensed games of chance is prohibited.
When advertising is concerned for licensed games of chance, there are three possibilities regarding the applicable code:
a. The advertising exclusively concerns online games of chance: the ROK is applicable;
b. The advertising exclusively concerns other games of chance: the RVK is applicable as well as the ROK with the application of Articles 8 paragraph 1, 9 paragraph 1, and 9 paragraph 3 sub (c) and (g);
c. The advertising concerns both online and other games of chance: both codes are This convergence occurs for example when general brand advertising concerns a brand that is used for both online and offline games of chance.
2. Definitions and interpretation
Definitions in this code have the meaning assigned to them below:
a benefit not forming part of the game conditions of the online game of chance itself intended to make participating in an online game of chance more appealing, such as a discount, temporary increase of the winnings to be achieved, repayment, free credits, such as a free bet, participation or stake, or another comparable financial or material incentive;
Bonuses play an important part in advertising for online games of chance, in both the recruitment and the retention of players. A separate article, Article 5, is devoted to bonuses for that reason. In the Decree Recruitment, Advertising and Addiction Prevention, bonus is defined as: “a good or service, including free credits, offered to recruit or retain players for the licensed games of chance or to advertise those games of chance”. The chosen definition in the ROK is intended to provide an equally broad definition, but that is clearer to the industry.
|Decree:||the Decree Recruitment, Advertising and Addiction Prevention Games of Chance;|
|essential bonus terms and conditions:||terms and conditions of a bonus needed by a consumer to get a realistic picture of the bonus, including but not limited to the number of times – per game or otherwise – that the entire bonus must be staked before the bonus amount will be paid out and, if relevant, the relationship between the bonus and the consumer’s own stake, any limitation of the period of validity, fair play requirements and important conditions that substantively differ from those relating to playing with the consumer’s own resources;|
|young adult:||(a person who is) older than 18 but younger than 24;|
|youth athlete:||an athlete who is a minor or young adult;|
|game of chance:||an opportunity to compete for prizes or premiums whereby the winners are selected through any chance determination over which the participants generally cannot exercise dominant influence;|
|vulnerable group:||a group consisting of socially vulnerable persons. Such persons include in any event minors, young adults, persons with an intellectual disability, gambling addicts, and persons showing characteristics of risky gaming behaviour;|
|minor:||a person under the age of 18;|
|broadcasting service:||a broadcasting service as defined in Article 1.1, paragraph 1 of the Dutch Media Act of 2008;|
|online game of chance:||a game of chance that is exclusively played remotely through electronic means of communication as referred to in Article 31 paragraph 1 of the Betting and Gambling Act;|
|operator of online games of chance:||an organisation that holds a licence as referred to in Title VB of the Betting and Gambling Act;|
|other restricted games of chance:||games of chance other than online games of chance that are subject to the effect of certain articles of the ROK, to wit: sports betting, totalisator and slot machine casino as respectively defined in Articles 15, 23 and 27g of the BGA, and games of chance played on a machine in a slot machine arcade, for the presence of which a licence is required;|
|advertising message:||an advertising message as defined in Article 1.1 , paragraph 1 of the Dutch Media Act of 2008;|
|sponsoring:||support of third-party activities by operators of online games of chance in the form of financial or other contributions in exchange for an increase in name recognition;|
|Regulation:||the Regulation Recruitment, Advertising and Addiction Prevention Games of Chance.|
References to regulations or to specific articles in regulations apply from the time this code enters into Following any amendments to the regulations, the references will apply as references to regulations and/or articles regulating the same.
3. General requirements
In general, advertising for online games of chance must:
a. lead consumers towards the legal offering of games of chance and away from any illegal offering;
b. be reserved;
c. also be aimed at responsible participation;
d. not encourage risky gaming behaviour that can lead to gambling addiction; all as fleshed out in detail in this Code.
The ROK is built upon the premises in Article 3. An important part is played in that respect by the premise of channelisation. The premise of the ROK is making the legal offering appealing as compared to the illegal offering, without making the legal offering so appealing that too many people start playing who initially did not intend to do so.
This balance must be kept in mind when interpreting the ROK. These premises also play a decisive part in the evaluation of the ROK (see the next-to-last provision under the ROK).
An operator of online games of chance must not make participation in online games of chance a condition for the procurement of a service or product from a different sector.
4. Responsible participation: general
Advertising for online games of chance:
a. may not use language or other means that call for irresponsible behaviour or for impulsive or irresponsible participation in an online game of chance, such as: “you have nothing to lose”, “take your chance, you only live once” or “hurry up and start gambling now!”
b. may not downplay excessive participation;
c. may not promote behaviour that objectively leads to financial loss;
Financial loss refers to loss that occurs because a player’s participation leads to them losing more than just their stake. This may be interest on loans taken out in order to play, or a loss of income, for example due to the suggestion of quitting one’s job. This provision is also connected to other provisions. The loss of only the stake, which could also be deemed a “financial loss”, is not being referred to here.
d. may not use language or other means that exhibit, condone and/or encourage anti-social or criminal behaviour;
e. may not explicitly appeal to greed;
Elements that lead to the conclusion that “explicitly appealing” is involved could be, for example: using popular, expensive name brand clothing or watches, using expensive makes of cars, etc. Much will depend on the question of precisely how the element is used. Not every (implicit) appeal to greed will result in a violation of this article.
Advertising will often implicitly appeal to the fact that people want to have things, and this must continue to be possible. Humour is a key element in advertising, and the use of humour must continue to be possible as long as this does not violate other provisions.
f. may not appeal to superstitions about gambling or good fortune;
g. may not urge players to continue playing and may not appeal to social pressure not to stop;
It must be noted here that the first part of this article does not apply in full to bonuses. Bonuses are also considered a part of advertising in this code, but are treated differently. At variance with this Article 4.1 sub (g), Article 5.3 sub (b) applies to bonuses: “A provider of online of games of chance may not use bonuses that encourage players to continue playing for so long or otherwise put so much pressure to play on players that the bonus can no longer be deemed to be aimed at responsible participation. This is the case, for example, if the payment of the bonus requires multiple deposits.” Therefore, unlike other advertising, a bonus may encourage a player to continue playing, but not to the extent that too much pressure to play occurs.
h. may not in any event downplay or increase the risk factors identified with regard to gambling addiction to the relevant online game of Texts such as: “participation is harmless”, “playing is easy”, “innocent pastime”, “risk-free”, “completely safe gambling” must be avoided in this context.
Advertising for online games of chance may not claim or suggest that:
a. participation is an important part of a person’s life;
b. participation leads to social acceptance or happiness;
c. participation is more important than family and friends or than professional or educational obligations;
d. participation enhances personal qualities or self-confidence;
e. participation can make a player more appealing, sexually or otherwise;
f. excessive participation can fulfil an exemplary role;
g. participation may be a solution for problems, such as financial, personal or professional problems or problems in school or any other form of education;
h. participation is a substitute for work or for a regular investment;
i. there is no risk of loss when in fact, there is a risk of loss;
j. the game of chance is risk-free when this is not the case.
5. Responsible participation: Bonuses
Advertising for online games of chance via broadcasting services and outdoor media may not use bonuses.
An operator of online games of chance may not use a bonus of which the contents and/or the conditions subject to which the bonus can actually be obtained do not correspond with the manner in which the operator of online games of chance represents the bonus or its acquisition.
An operator of online games of chance may not use bonuses:
a. if time pressure occurs that may lead to impulsively accepting an offer or attempts are otherwise made to convince the consumer to impulsively accept an offer. Such “time pressure” from the previous sentence exists in any event if a consumer is required to respond to an offer within 24 hours, and such time pressure does not exist in any event if the consumer is given at least three days to consider the offer; or
b. that encourage players to continue playing for so long, or otherwise put such pressure to play on players that the bonus can no longer be deemed to be aimed at responsible This is the case, for example, if the payment of the bonus requires multiple deposits.
This article is intended to reduce the risk of bonuses leading to impulsive conduct and pressure to play. In order to provide clarity to the sector regarding time pressure, in Article 5.3(a) the ROK presumes that time pressure exists in any event if the consumer has not been able to “sleep on it”, and that three “nights’ sleep” does not lead to time pressure in any event. Whether time pressure exists in the interim period between these two must be assessed for each individual case. When a bonus is no longer aimed at responsible participation is more difficult to specify. This must also be assessed in each individual case. It is clear in any event, and has been included in the ROK, that if the consumer must make multiple additional deposits to obtain payment of a bonus, this involves pressure to play.
If an operator of online games of chance offers a bonus to a first-time consumer participating in an online game of chance or a consumer returning after a period of six months since their last stake, that bonus may amount to no more than:
a. 100% of the amount of the first deposit if the amount of that deposit is less than EUR 250 but more than EUR 50,–; and
b. EUR 50,– if the amount of the first deposit is less than EUR 50,–; and
c. EUR 250,– in all other cases.
The same restrictions apply to bonuses offered via printed media.
A bonus must be explicitly accepted before it is A provider of online games of chance therefore awards no bonuses on the basis of tacit acceptance. An operator of online games of chance will not offer a bonus to a person who has indicated that they do not wish to receive a bonus. An operator of online games of chance will annul a bonus upon request as quickly as possible.
An operator of online games of chance must properly and comprehensibly clarify the terms and conditions attached to a bonus, including the essential bonus terms and conditions, using language no more complicated than level B1, before the bonus is accepted. It will do so in a prominent manner where the bonus must be accepted, with the terms and conditions of the bonus being pointed out in the same font and font size as the rest of the text. An operator of online games of chance will also ensure that the terms and conditions of the bonus remain easily accessible to the player.
An operator of online games of chance must present the essential bonus terms and conditions in an accessible, understandable and concise manner. An operator of online games of chance must include the essential bonus terms and conditions in the message that includes the bonus and, in the event of text, must include these immediately below the headline. If this is impossible due to the limited size or duration of the message, an operator of online games of chance will make the essential bonus terms and conditions available via a single click on a clear button that redirects to the place where the essential bonus terms and conditions and the other terms and conditions referred to in the previous paragraph are described, without prejudice to the previous paragraph. In this context, an operator of online games of chance must use the image indications included in Appendix [A] if necessary.
The scheme from Articles 5.6 and 5.7 is intended to understandably and adequate provide the consumer with insight into the key terms and conditions of the bonus. This insight cannot be provided, as is clear from Article 5.6, by hiding those terms and conditions in the general terms and conditions. Nor, according to Article 5.7, somewhere near the bottom of a long internet page. In addition, if space is limited, a uniform character framework is offered that is included in Annex A to the ROK, and that makes it possible to generally and quickly indicate the features of the bonus in a limited amount of space.
Bonuses may not be offered to a player while they are actually playing a game of This means, among other things, that bonuses may in fact be offered, for example, after a bet has been placed while the player is awaiting the result, or when a player is logged in but is not actually playing.
An operator of online games of chance must ensure that young adult players cannot use bonuses.
6. Protection of vulnerable groups: substantive criteria
This article is intended to reduce the risk of advertising being made that is relatively appealing to vulnerable individuals. This concerns the substantive requirements in that regard. Requirements concerning the reach among vulnerable individuals are given in Article 9.
The contents of advertising for online games of chance may not specifically target vulnerable groups of persons.
Advertising for online games of chance may not appeal to the specific needs or weaknesses of vulnerable groups. It may not use products or services, of third parties or otherwise, that specifically target vulnerable groups.
Minors and Young Adults
Advertising for online games of chance must clearly and prominently indicate the minimum age for participation.
Operators of online games of chance may not use merchandising or any other mention of their brands or logos on or with products or services that specifically target minors and young adults.
Advertising for online games of chance may not use, for example:
persons of a certain age
a. Persons under the age of 25 or who look as if they are under the age of 25;
fantasy characters appealing specifically to young people
b. Cartoon characters, superheroes or other fictional characters or figures that may be expected to primarily appeal to minors or young adults;
athletes, other role models
c. individual professional athletes or teams of professional athletes, without prejudice to Article 10, unless this concerns
i. use by a provider of sports betting of their name to the extent required to specify the offer; or
ii. use by an operator of online games of chance of their name and still images on its own social media channels or website exclusively within the context of a discussion or announcement of a sports event;
d. Role models other than professional athletes with substantial reach among minors and/or young adults.
An operator of online games of chance must assess whether a role model has substantial reach among minors and/or young adults by collecting data on the age of the audience to which the role model appeals, in which use may be made of an age range of visitors, for example, and the target groups of the products or services also being promoted by the role model. Substantial reach among minors and/or young adults exists if a role model’s audience – to be determined on the basis of a weighted average of the figures on the reach of the various media – is comprised of minors and young adults collectively for more than 25%.
The reach among minors and young adults is discussed for the first time in this Article 6.5 sub (d). That reach also plays a role in respect of Article 9.3.
This article prohibits using a role model who has a certain reach among minors and young adults. The reasoning behind this is that a role model who has extensive reach among that group is more appealing to that group than one with less reach. An advertiser who uses a role model with extensive reach among minors and young adults creates the suspicion that they are targeting that group. In that sense, the actual reach and the targeting overlap.
Reach is also discussed in Article 9 paragraph 3 of the ROK. That article concerns the reach of the specific advertising. That reach is used to clarify the vague criterion of “targeting”.
In principle, reach is defined here as: the sum of all persons who are “exposed” to the role model at least once via owned and earned media, per type of media, in the past three months.
The premise of the ROK is that if reach exists among minors and young adults that exceeds 25% of the total reach, minors and young adults are deemed to be targeted. The reasoning behind this is that “targeting” means that the advertising is more appealing to a specific group than it is to society as a whole. That extensive appeal then leads to a relatively higher percentage among that group. This separates the term “targeting” from the intention of the party who is advertised, therewith objectifying it. This reach therefore plays an important part in this article in determining whether a role model may be used, and in Article 9 paragraph 3 ROK in answering the question of whether the advertising concerned is targeted.
For the sake of clarity: the limit imposed on the reach among minors and young adults is a separate requirement. Substantive requirements also apply to the advertising itself, of course.
The percentage of 25% was determined by looking at the percentage of minors and young adults among the entire population of the Netherlands. According to Statistics Netherlands, in 2020 they constituted 28% of the population. If a role model or an advertisement has less reach among minors and young adults, it can be concluded that this group is not being targeted.
e. behaviour and language used mostly by minors or young adults;
f. claims that participation is part of the transition to adulthood or that non-participation is immature.
7. Not dishonest
Advertising for Online Games of Chance must not be dishonest. Among other things, Advertising for Online Games of Chance must not create an unrealistic or incorrect positive impression of an Online Game of Chance or of one or more of its elements.
Examples of dishonesty when advertising for Online Games of Chance:
a. creation of the impression that a player has already won or will win a prize by carrying out a certain action, even though there is merely a chance of winning such a prize;
b. offering a “free” service or product if:
i.is not immediately clear that such is subject to conditions, such as:
a. permission to be approached by an Operator of Online Games of Chance or by another party;
b. the procurement of a credit, other service or other product;
c. following acceptance of the offer, having to terminate a subscription that started with such acceptance in order to remain free of charge;
ii. such participation is not free of charge because the price has been factored into a higher price or in less advantageous terms for the Online Game of Chance;
c. not providing clarity on the price of participation;
d. not clarifying that the advertising originates from or is made on behalf of an Operator of Online Games of Chance;
e. claiming or suggesting that:
i. in general, the player can have dominant influence on the outcome;
ii. dominant influence on the result of the participation can generally be acquired by training or study;
iii. the Operator of Online Games of Chance holds a European licence for offering a Game of Chance;
iv. participation can be anonymous;
v. government-issued approval is in place, in which regard the following statement, which must be neutral and reserved in terms of layout and otherwise, is permitted: “licensed in accordance with Dutch law”.
8. Channels: restraint
For advertising that is distributed through broadcasting services, the following applies:
a. operators of online games of chance, the operators of other restricted games of chance and the broadcasting services ensure that for each commercial break, a maximum of three advertisements, each lasting no more than 30 seconds, are broadcast collectively for online games of chance and for other restricted games of chance;
b. the use of “tag-ons” for online games of chance and for other restricted games of chance within a commercial break is prohibited.
In the event of a violation, in principle all advertisers and the broadcasting service are in violation.
Except under circumstances that are of such a nature that a recommendation in favour of a specific party is not justified, to be assessed by the Advertising Code Commission. An advertising message with the objective of inducing players to play responsibly is included when determining the maximum number and must also satisfy the further conditions.
Operators of Online Games of Chance must provide their players with an options menu in their personal environment (“dashboard”) that enables players to easily set their preferences with regard to receiving and/or seeing advertisements, including an option to directly unsubscribe from all individual advertisements disseminated under the control of the relevant operator of online games of chance, in which regard the operator of online games of chance is able to identify the player who unsubscribed. Unsubscribing in the manner described above does not mean that the player will no longer see advertisements from the relevant operator of online games of chance. For example, the player may still see advertisements disseminated via broadcasting services that are not targeted with the help of personal data (contextual advertising) or that are targeted with the help of data limited to such an extent that the data reasonably cannot be used to identify the player in question (e.g. targeted advertising on the basis of a limited profile). A player visiting or revisiting the website of the relevant operator of online games of chance will also see the advertising of that operator included on that website.
Offering software or a dashboard in which the data subjects – players – can manage their own privacy settings is a key privacy tool. The ROK currently stipulates this in so many words.
At variance from the rules concerning unsubscribing to e-mail advertising, for example, the ROK requires it to be possible for the data subject/player to directly unsubscribe from all individual advertising. The reasoning behind including this broader option for unsubscribing here is more in the interest of preventing addiction than in the interest of privacy. This is because it is imaginable that a player wants to ensure by unsubscribing that they are no longer tempted to participate in an online or other game of chance.
non-targeted: specific situations
Advertising for betting on a match targeting those following that match live, in person, via an audio or audio(-visual) medium, via a livestream or otherwise, is prohibited during that match – including any breaks, time-outs and the like that are part of the game – with the exception of advertising on the game-of-chance interface used for such To avoid misunderstandings:
a. advertising other than for betting on the match in question is allowed in so far as it complies with the requirements of this code; and
b. advertising for the match in question within the digital systems used by the operator of online games of chance, such as an app, other than on the relevant game-of-chance interface is allowed in so far as it does not target those following that match live.
Operators of online games of chance may not advertise in or around online games and also may not allow third-party advertisements for online games on their channels. For example, advertising for online games of chance on a web page where casual games of skill are offered is not permitted.
On a game-of-chance interface of an operator of online games of chance, no other advertising may be made other than advertising for the online games of chance for which the relevant operator of online games of chance has obtained a licence.
Based on the mandatory grace period for bonuses, no bonuses may be offered either. This is governed by Article 5, paragraph 3 sub (a).
Social media accounts of an operator of online games of chance must clearly indicate that they are an official account of the operator of online games of chance in question.
9. Channels: Vulnerable Groups
Advertising for online games via television broadcasting services is prohibited between 06:00 and 21:00 hours. Exceptions to this are neutral mentions of media sponsorship that comply with this code. The dissemination of video advertising for online games of chance and other restricted games of chance via online media is also prohibited between 06:00 and 21:00 hours. Within this article, video advertising means separate advertising messages that are primarily comprised of moving images and sound. Rich media banners and sponsored content, for example, are not video advertising messages.
Television and radio are highly popular media that are watched or heard by consumers who are unknown to the broadcasting company. This means that reducing the risk of vulnerable individuals taking cognisance of the advertising for online games of chance broadcast via these media is not possible. This is why the legislature chose to prohibit advertising for these games of chance on linear television and radio between 06:00 and 21:00 hours. This prohibition is repeated in the code and expanded to include online dissemination of commercials.
The television commercials that may not be broadcast between 06:00 and 21:00 hours may not be disseminated online during that period, either. A “video advertising message” means the type of commercials customarily included by the broadcasting companies in their commercial breaks. Those commercials are separate video messages with a message that is basically uniform and that are of a certain length, which is why “separate” is used in the description. That description was also chosen to prevent sponsored programs, for example, or organic video content or promo clips from being disseminated online.
“Disseminated via online media” refers to placing or having the message placed on third-party websites, for example. It also includes advertising by means of social media. It does not include advertising on one’s own website. For social media, sometimes a commercial that has been placed cannot be removed. This holds true for example to a commercial on one’s own channel placed outside of the window. This is why dissemination pertains to uploading and not to subsequently leaving the commercial there. Even if the commercial as it was placed on one’s own timeline continues to be visible in the timeline, even during the prohibited window of time. Furthermore, others sharing the advertiser’s commercial is not the advertiser’s responsibility, unless these others are rewarded for doing so, of course.
Advertising other than television commercials, such as commercials with still images, banners with animations/other moving images, sponsored content, organic video
organic on social media channels and corporate videos therefore may be disseminated online between 06:00 and 21:00 hours.
The online presence of legal offerings continues to be necessary in order to compete with the illegal offerings. Naturally, with regard to the advertising that is still permitted, the operator must prevent the advertising from being seen by young adults or other vulnerable individuals to the extent possible. This is laid down in Article 9 paragraph 9.
Advertising for online games of chance on billboards, advertising banners, bus shelters, advertising displays, and objects serving a similar purpose is prohibited when placed in the line of sight of educational institutions for the education of minors or young adults, amusement parks, playgrounds or addiction care centres and hospitals.
Advertising for online games of chance may not reach an audience that is comprised for more than 25% of minors and young adults collectively. The reach is determined over a representative measurement period that is determined on the basis of the specific circumstances of the case, including the location, the medium, impact, proportionality, the qualification by the party responsible for the medium, the opinion of independent media professionals and the nature of the products or services offered, using the most objective reach figures possible. All without prejudice to paragraph 5 of this article. Without prejudice to Article 9 paragraph 9, the general reach figures of a medium are irrelevant if and in so far as the operator of online games of chance can ensure through use of filter technology or other technologies that the specific reach among minors and young adults is less than 25%. In the cases at c and g, the advertising prohibition there also applies to other restricted games of chance. Within the context of this article, the in any event advertising is prohibited:
a. at events where more than 25% of the visitors are minors and young adults collectively;
b. in cinemas immediately before movies where more than 25% of the audience are minors and young adults collectively;
c. on a channel where more than 25% of the viewing and listening audience between 21:00 and 06:00 hours are minors and young adults collectively according to the year averages;
d. in magazines specifically targeting minors or other magazines where more than 25% of the readers are minors and young adults collectively;
e. on websites specifically targeting minors or other websites where more than 25% of the visitors are minors and young adults collectively;
f. on social media where an advertiser cannot specify the age category for the advertising’s reach and where more than 25% of those who can see the advertisement are minors or young adults;
g. immediately before or immediately after programmes of which more than 25% of the listening or viewing audience comprises minors and young adults collectively, according to listening or viewing figures that are generally accepted in the market, based on an average over a recent period.
This article is intended to protect the vulnerable age group of minors and young adults. The percentage of 25% was already discussed above in the explanation to Article 6.5 sub (d). Please refer to that explanation.
If technology makes it possible to arrive at a percentage that is lower than this 25% in a specific case, this must be possible. Relevant in that regard is that the ROK also stipulates that the advertiser is required to use filtering techniques where possible. This is laid down in Article 9.9. Therefore, the advertiser cannot suffice with a filter with which the percentage of minors and young adults is set at 24% if that filter can also be set at a lower percentage. The advertiser must always attempt to keep the percentage as close to nil as possible. Practice will need to show whether the room made for technical and other innovations in Article 9.3 is useful, or whether the requirements make Article 9.9 a dead letter.
With regard to the provision concerning the audience of channels and programs, the reach concerned will be determined based on measurements pertaining to individuals who are above six years of age. In these cases, the prohibition is expanded to include a number of other games of chance.
An example of the application of this article is as follows: if it were clear that at certain times, there are many young adults at a certain place, while digital billboards can be configured such that no advertising for online games of chance is shown at those times, an operator of online games of chance must ensure that this is actually done.
The prohibition contained in the previous paragraph does not apply in the event that in a specific situation, an audience is reached that is comprised for more than 25% of minors and young adults if such an audience is reached unintentionally and, based on the relevant medium’s reach figures, unexpectedly.
The audience cannot be predicted in every case. An example of this is advertising in a football stadium. If the stadium is opened to school students, in the context of a special anniversary, for example, the message concerned will unexpectedly reach many minors. This does not necessarily constitute a violation of the ROK. The advertiser must be able to demonstrate that it was, in fact, unexpected that the message would reach an audience of minors that is too large.
The operator of online games of chance may only grant access to media content in respect of which that operator can control access after the visitor has declared to be aged 18 or more, by means of age-gating tools for easy access or This also applies with regard to providing the opportunity to post content.
Even outside of the cases included in this article, advertising for online games of chance does not target minors and young adults for dissemination purposes.
Advertising for online games of chance targeting vulnerable groups other than minors and young adults is prohibited via media, including non-linear television services, printed media, websites and social media, specifically targeting such vulnerable groups. The targeting of these media can be determined by:
a. the qualification by the party responsible for the medium;
b. the opinion of independent media professionals;
c. the nature of the products or services offered;
d. qualitative and quantitative reach data.
The operator of online games of chance may not advertise:
a. where the information as referred to in Articles 8 paragraph (1) and (2) of the Decree is provided; and
b. where a player indicates the limits of their gaming behaviour or with the information provided to the player regarding their gambling behaviour.
For advertising in respect of which the recipients can be individually selected or selected according to characteristics on the basis of personal data or otherwise, indicators and/or filters must be used in order to exclude vulnerable groups where possible. Furthermore, making use of the traits associated with those of vulnerable groups is prohibited.
This is the broad filter article already referred to above (with Article 9.3). Its wording is in line with advertising purchasing practice, in which factors including the age category intended to be reached can be indicated relatively specifically. This does not mean that minors are not still unexpectedly reached. Also by means of more individual advertising, as personal data will not always reveal the age and that age will not always be correctly included. This article does not absolutely prohibit reaching minors or young adults. In the event of a complaint, the advertiser will have to demonstrate that they acted properly. The circumstances of the case will then determine whether the advertiser has done enough. Advertising via Facebook, for example, will differ from banner advertising based on tracking cookies. With the former, the age of the recipients can be determined relatively specifically.
Gambling addicts and persons demonstrating an affinity for risky gambling behaviour
Operators of online games of chance may not send or offer persons who have excluded themselves, or in respect of whom an intervention has taken place, a targeted bonus or other advertising for online games of chance targeting them, such as e-mails addressed to them or banners targeting them. The prohibition contained in the previous sentence with regard to persons in respect of whom an intervention has taken place lapses upon the expiry of a period that is in line with the nature and severity of the intervention measure in question, which will be at least the period specified in the table below.
|providing the player with insight into their gambling behaviour by means of a conversation and, in particular, pointing out to them that there have been signs of excessive or risky gambling||30 days|
|advising the player to make use of a facility with which they can easily gain insight into their own gambling behaviour||30 days|
|advising the player to make use of the possibility of limiting their access to the games of chance organised by the operator of online games of chance in accordance with a maximum period of time per visit or login to be determined by that player, or during time slots to be determined by that player||60 days|
|without the player’s consent, limiting their access to the games of chance organised by the operator of online games of chance to a maximum period of time per login or during specified time slots||60 days|
|advising the player to make use of the possibility of exclusion from participation in the games of chance organised by the operator of online games of chance for a fixed or indefinite period of time||90 days after the end of the term of exclusion|
|excluding the player, without their consent, from participation in the games of chance organised by the operator of online games of chance for a fixed or indefinite period of time||90 days after the end of the term of exclusion|
With the exception of bonuses, targeted advertising for online games of chance may be sent to individuals in respect of whom one of the following interventions has taken place:
a. if this individual has been made aware of their gambling behaviour by means of sending messages on the player interface;
b. if this individual has been advised to make use of a facility with which they can easily gain insight into their own gambling behaviour.
In the event of one of these interventions, bonuses may be sent after 30 days after the intervention concerned in the event at a and after 60 days in the event at b.
The prohibitions in paragraphs 10 and 11 of this article do not apply in so far as it is not reasonably possible for the operator of online games of chance to know that the personal data used for a targeted bonus and other targeted advertising belongs to the individuals referred to in the first sentence of paragraph 10 of this article.
Sponsoring is permitted. As regards the mention of the name, figurative and/or other mark or any other distinctive sign of an operator of online games of chance in return for sponsoring, the other articles of this code, in particular Articles 5 and 9.3, must be complied with in full.
Sponsoring is a form of advertising in so far as it is visible, and therefore must satisfy the requirements of the ROK in respect of the visible advertising. This Article 10.1 is intended to avoid doubts in that regard. Sponsoring of sports holds a special position, as is evident from Article 10.2.
At variance with Article 6 paragraph 5 sub (c), professional athletes and professional teams may be sponsored, with the exception of individual youth athletes and professional teams primarily comprised of minors. To avoid misunderstandings: the ROK applies in full to the use of images of this sponsoring in the advertising of the operator of online games of chance.
Sponsoring of professional athletes and their teams is permitted. Other advertising that uses athletes and teams is not (Article 6 paragraph 5 sub (c)). This means that images of a sponsored team, for example, may not be used in a commercial of the operator. Furthermore, the sale of shirts of a sponsored football player with the sponsor’s name is not permitted in children’s sizes, as such products fall under the prohibition from Article 6 paragraph 4.
The exception to Article 6.5 sub (c) for sponsoring professional athletes reflects the choice made by the legislature. It chose in the interests of the practice of sports to make sponsoring possible. That is a deliberate deviation from the general prohibition against using athletes in advertising for online games of chance. The ROK also prohibits sponsoring individual minor and young adult athletes. With professional teams, the age limit applied is minors. In practice, in some cases, such as in professional football competition, more than half of a team may be comprised of young adults. The ROK wants to avoid all doubts regarding the fact that this key sponsoring possibility is permitted for this sport.
The sponsoring may not affect the independence, trustworthiness and credibility of the beneficiary or their For example, an Operator of Online Games of Chance may not make the sponsorship contribution dependent, in part or in full, on the turnover or result of that Operator of Online Games of Chance.
11. Relationship with players
Players are not required to cooperate in any form of advertising, even if they have won a prize, but Operators of Online Games of Chance may ask winning players to cooperate in their advertising. Players must explicitly agree to such cooperation.
12. Position in the chain
The operator of online games of chance must ensure that all parties advertising or procuring advertising for its online games of chance are obliged in respect of it to comply with this code, the Dutch Advertising Code, and other relevant laws and regulations. The operator of online games of chance must monitor and supervise compliance with the The operator of online games of chance may not cooperate with parties that do not respect the rules.
The advertiser bears ultimate responsibility for advertising for its products and services. This article lays down the advertiser’s obligation to ensure that the parties in the chain that make its advertising, or issue instructions to that end, are obliged in respect of the advertiser to comply with this code. These parties are advertising and media agencies, for example. This article does not pertain to parties such as advertisement networks and social media that exclusively distribute in accordance with instructions issued by or on behalf of the advertiser. If errors are made in the chain without an instruction relationship existing with the advertiser, the advertiser is not necessarily exempt from responsibility for the error, but this article does not apply.
The wording of the last sentence indicates that not every minor mistake obliges the advertiser to end its relationship with the violating party. Mistakes can be made. The advertiser will only be required to end the collaboration when it becomes evident that a party does not respect the rules. This is the case, for example, when an error is the result that is not organised properly and continues to be not organised properly, or when the rules are consciously violated.
13. Information on responsible participation
The following information must be provided immediately, in a clearly visible or audible fashion, for each individual recruitment and advertising activity and on each social or other media account of the operator of online games of chance:
a. the minimum age for participation;
b. the slogan “Speel bewust” [“Play responsibly”] its successor;
c. an online (on websites, in e-mails and on social media) warning that the content may not be shared with minors or young adults;
d. the web page(s) of the operator of online games of chance where the information stated in the following paragraph is offered.
The operator of online games of chance must provide easy access on one or more pages of its website to information about:
a. the specific characteristics of the online games of chance offered;
b. the determination of profits or any potential prizes and the deduction of the tax on games of chance;
c. the costs of participation;
d. other obligations attached to participating or winning a prize;
e. the categories of individuals to whom no only games of chance may be offered;
f. responsible participation in online games of chance, the dangers of gambling addiction and the access to addiction care;
g. the safeguarding of the privacy of the players;
h. the manner in which participation in online games of chance can be ended;
i. the scope and destination of the revenues from online games of chance.
Amendments to this code
This code may be amended by the operators of online games of chance. The initiators will involve all operators of online games of chance in designing the amendments. This code will be evaluated regularly. In any event, the first year will be evaluated as from 1 October 2022. This evaluation will be completed by 1 March 2023 at the latest. Consumer organisations and media will be involved in the evaluation.
The ROK operates in a new playing field. This is the reason for the relatively short term in which it will be evaluated. All licence holders will be involved in formulating any amendment. The evaluation of the ROK will take place in particular in respect of the general requirements laid down in Article 3. The question to be evaluated is whether the specific details of the premises laid down in Article 3 as fleshed out in the ROK ensure in practice that those premises are realised or whether adjustments need to be made in that regard, and whether any restrictions can be cancelled. Use will also be made of consumer surveys in this regard. The effectiveness of the restraint from Articles 8 paragraph 1 and article 9 paragraph 1 will also be evaluated.
A revised code will then need to be readopted by the Advertising Code Authority. The formal owner of the code is: Licensed Operators of Dutch Online Games of Chance (VNLOK).
Effective date and transition period
This code takes effect on 15 December 2021.
Since 1 October 2021, specific advertising requirements from the Betting and Gambling Act and the ensuing lower regulations also apply to operators of games of chance as referred to in this code. In addition, as from that date a group of operators of games of chance have subscribed to a Voluntary Code of Conduct Online Games of Chance. Because the Advertising Code for Online Games of Chance (ROK) imposes supplementary obligations on all operators of games of chance as referred to in this code, and some of these obligations will involve an implementation period, a transition period that ends on 1 February 2022 applies to Articles 5 paragraph 9, 8 paragraph 1, 9 paragraphs 1 and 3(c) and (g) of the ROK.