Belgium gets tough on gambling advertising

By Robert Simmons
Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens is calling for the introduction of measures which would impose tighter restrictions on gambling advertising in the country.

The proposed measures which have the full support of the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) would see the banning of gambling advertisements on television before 8pm and notably, the complete blocking of any gaming advertisements during live sporting events.

BGC officials have also said that they will even remove permitted gambling advertisements if they are deemed to be promoting ‘excessive’ gambling activity, although the definition of what constitutes excessive has yet to be confirmed.

BGC Spokeswoman Marjolein De Paepe told Belgian news website nieuwsblad.be: || "We already have the authority for it, but as long as there are no clear rules about what may or may not, we can hardly exert it," ||

On screen banners during games and commercials during half time would be banned under new proposals, which also include the implementation of mandatory problem gambling warnings in operator marketing materials and fines for operators who are found to breach new regulations.

Belgium’s regulated online gambling market was launched six years ago and last year the Belgian finance ministry passed legislation making online gambling services taxable under VAT laws.

According to recent figures published by the Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) only 15% of Belgians use internationally licensed gambling sites. BAGO believe that this number will increase to 50% should the proposed restrictions be imposed on Belgian licensed operators.

Belgian Member of Parliament, Peter De Decker welcomed the new proposals saying: || "For tobacco advertising there are already strict rules and there are ethical standards around alcohol. So something had to happen around gambling. We must not be blind to the fact that more is being cast or for the misery that causes it to people who are hard at all. " ||


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