The Belgian government plans to ban gambling and betting-related advertising by 2023 and 2025 respectively. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Sponsorship contracts expire by 2025
Belgium has announced plans to ban almost all gambling advertising by the end of 2022 and all sports sponsorships associated with bookmakers by 2025.
The proposal was submitted in a draft royal decree
Federal Justice Minister Vincent van Quekenborn presented the proposal in a draft royal decree this weekend. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra de Sutter took to Twitter on Monday to express her support for the plans:
Ad blocking will concern digital and traditional media including TV, radio and posters, as well as email and mobile phone. Meanwhile, the ban on betting on shirt and sponsorship deals in stadiums will not come into effect until December 31, 2024.
to me D StandardVan Koukenborn claims that “the whole government is behind” the ban. The royal decree will go to the European Union and the Council of State next, but the minister is confident the ad ban will be implemented by the end of 2022.
Addiction in the spotlight
The rise of the Belgian gambling problem has led to support for the ban on gambling advertisements. Brussels Times cite a study By the Flemish Experience Center for Alcohol and Other Drugs that has found more than 100,000 gamblers in Belgium. The researchers found that a third of these had severe addiction.
Research conducted during the pandemic has also revealed a 43% increase in online gambling among young adults. According to the study, problem players and young bettors fund up to 40% of the sales of gambling companies in the country.
In a press release, Van Kuekenborn described gambling as the “new smoking,” adding: “The gambling industry is making more and more profits in our country, all thanks to ‘people with gambling addiction’.”
Whistling in the wind?
Not everyone is happy with the possible ban. Reform leader Jorge Louise Bochese took to Twitter to express his party’s opposition:
Bushes called the ban “excessive” and claimed it would “cause significant financial difficulties for the sports sector and others”. Bushes added that the gambling ban took an irrational “hard-line view”, and that it would push people to “dark web platforms”.
Since none of the ministers dealing with the draft are from the MR, they are powerless to stop progress on the bill or royal decree.