Belgium is one of the countries that has come down the hardest on the gambling industry over the last year. It began in early 2022 when the Belgian government decided to impose limits on the gambling taking place inside newsagents.
It didn’t take long until they also came after the online casinos by implementing a maximum €200 per week deposit limit. However, already having crippled the industry with these restrictions isn’t enough as the Belgian government just announced that gambling advertising will be banned in the country from 1 July this year.
Royal Signature and Support
The Belgian Official Gazette was the one who first published the new rules and it was delivered with royal support. It was signed by none other than King Philippe himself.
– “The decision is now clear: gambling advertising will be seriously restricted from 1 July 2023. This is necessary because the normalization and banalisation of gambling must finally stop,” said Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.
Gambling advertising will be banned from television, radio, cinemas, magazines, newspapers and in public spaces. Online advertising on websites and social media will also be prohibited. The only exception will be the nation’s National Lottery.
Those Who Look Will Find It
With the new rules in place, there’s no doubt the lack of advertising will have a significant impact on the gambling industry. However, all is not lost, as “those who actively seek information about gambling may still be confronted with related advertising.”
In a statement by Justice Minister Van Quickenborne, he explains how deeply concerned the government is about the amounts of casino advertising.
Van Quickenborne continues by saying that “for those who want to get rid of their gambling addiction, the tsunami of gambling advertising is an additional problem.”
The End of Football?
Understandably, the government has received criticism from all of its latest restrictions. Parts of the opposition have voiced a concern about it being the end of football, which is a huge part of Belgian culture. For example one of the biggest teams in the country, Club Brugge, is sponsored by Unibet.
As you are aware, sports teams bring in a lot of money from casino advertising and sponsorships which will also be affected by the new rules. Because there needs to be a respect for already existing and ongoing contracts, there will be a transition period.
From January 1st 2025, all gambling advertising will be banned from stadiums and from January 1st 2028, sponsorship of sports clubs by gambling companies will also be restricted.
Role Models and Merchandise
Considering the fact that amateur sports do not have the same visibility as professional teams, the ban itself will mainly focus on the professionals. The players on these teams are considered role models for minors and the clubs also sell shirts etc as part of their merchandising.
No More Spill Across Borders
Being a close neighbor to Holland as well as being part of the EU are both things that are beneficial. You can also find a lot of Dutch casinos along the Belgian border. These casinos are no stranger to advertising across the border on Belgian territory, which has been supported by another law across Europe.
The new restrictions however will apply to both domestic as well as foreign casinos, meaning the Dutch will no longer be able to continue the cross-border advertisements, according to Van Quickenborne.
Take Your Pick
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