Belgium to restrict gambling advertising as of June 2023

Belgium to restrict gambling advertising as of June 2023

The Belgian government has adopted a draft royal decree restricting gaming advertising from June 2023, and also envisions complete sports sponsorships ban from 2025.

The decree’s first provisions are slated to go into effect on June 1, 2023, and would initially limit all types of advertising for betting products and services in Belgium. Sponsorships of sports clubs by gambling companies will be restricted under new rules that go into effect in 2025.

While the prime minister’s office has stated that the new measures have been fully approved, opponents of the legislation emphasize that the text of the decree still needs to be discussed with government partners.

Plans to restrict gaming sponsorship and advertising were introduced in May 2022, and neither the country’s Council of State nor the European Commission objected in form of a TRIS mechanism.

When proposing the decree earlier this year, Justice Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Vincent Van Quickenborne referenced numerous problem gambling figures as the basis for this policy measure. He mentioned a research that revealed 33% of problem gamblers were influenced to keep gambling after getting marketing emails. According to the report, 31% did so after seeing casino ads.

Belgium and Sports Betting – What Will Be Prohibited?

The new rule forbids gambling advertisements on public posters, as well as the use of tailored advertising by email, post, SMS, social networks, and any printed advertising.

Sporting clubs, on the other hand, have been given more time to negotiate new advertising and sponsorship deals with gaming corporations. They will also be allowed to put the emblem of a gambling brand on the back of an athlete’s jersey until December 2027.

Nonetheless, the order has tightened tax laws, which means that gaming enterprises’ sponsorship deals are no longer tax deductible.

Van Qiuckenborne had remarked in May that the gaming industry is “making more and more profit in our country, all ‘thanks to’ those with a gambling addiction.”

“Every day, gambling advertising bombards us from all sides, encouraging these addictions, including among young people. “Over 100,000 gamblers exhibit problematic gambling behavior, and one-third already have serious addictions,” he stated.

According to the most recent sector estimates (2019), more than EUR 2 billion was spent on gambling, and 64% of the adult population gambled at least once a year.

Over 100,000 active gamblers in Belgium have a gambling disorder, with one-third of them suffering from a serious addiction. According to Van Quickenborne, the harm “has already been done, frequently with great financial, spiritual, and social ramifications.”

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