Belgium plans to impose further restrictions on the country’s gambling advertising rules. More limitations are planned, including the suspension of gambling sponsorships in sports and the removal of gambling imagery from stadiums.
The country’s Government is now cracking down on gambling advertising as it seeks to prevent the normalization of gambling, especially among younger audiences. The decision, which was already signed by King Philippe, is unveiled at a time when local people are literally bombarded with gambling ads.
The Royal Decree signed by the King, gambling adverts are set to be significantly restricted as of July 1st, 2023. The measure is aimed at tackling problem gambling in the country and reducing the number of people who have piled up debts because of gambling.
As Brussels announced, the rules will hit the local gambling sector with immediate effect on July 1st, 2023. However, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne confirmed that the authorities would still give the industry the chance to adapt to the changes, by providing them with a transition period to get used to the new regime.
Belgium’s Justice Minister noted that local citizens are literally bombarded with gambling ads and noted that the Government is quite concerned about the potential negative impact that such advertising has on society. Van Quickenborne reminded that increased rates of advertising make it difficult for problem gamblers to overcome their compulsive behavior, not to mention that it provokes irresponsible gambling.
Gambling Companies Signage at Local Stadium to Be Banned, Along with Gambling Sponsorship Deals of Sports Clubs
As CasinoGamesPro reported, Belgium started battling gambling in early 2022. At the time, the Government decided to put restrictions on gambling in local newspaper shops, and at a later stage, it imposed some spending limits in order to control the maximum amount that could be spent by Belgians when playing online. Along with that, the Government suspended gambling advertising from television and radio channels.
Under the newly-unveiled restrictions in terms of gambling advertising, such adverts are also set to be suspended on websites and local media platforms. Real-life posters will not be allowed either because they are also subject to the ban.
Of course, the latest measures unveiled by the Government to tackle the negative impact gambling advertising has on local residents are hardly unlikely to put the end to the Belgian Government’s war on gambling adverts, as it also plans to impose a ban on all types of gambling advertising from sports stadiums across the country. As of January 1st, 2025, local sports fields will have all signage and imagery of gambling companies removed. Apart from that, as of January 1st, 2028, the authorities are set to enforce further restrictions on sponsorship deals between gambling companies and local sports clubs. The upcoming measures have been announced in advance by the Government, respecting ongoing sponsorship contracts.
Of course, not everyone was happy about the most recent changes in the gambling advertising sector, especially considering the fact that gambling and betting operators tend to be among the largest sponsors of sporting events not only in the country but also on a global scale. Some companies have even warned that the ban on gambling advertising may cause “the end of soccer”, or at least as people currently know the game. Anti-gambling campaigners, however, strongly believe that the ban would keep the integrity of sports and will only have a positive effect in the longer term.