Belgium reviews tighter restrictions to its gambling infrastructure

By Caroline Watson
The Belgian parliament is currently in session to discuss two bills that would impose further restrictions on the gambling industry. The country is considered to be one of the most tightly regulated in regards to the betting industry, however, some claim there could be further safeguards in place.

Both bills were introduced in the last couple of months by the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party and Justice Minister Koen Geens.

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."

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

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.

Back in June when the bills were announced, 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."

Furthermore, the CDF party have introduced a new measure that would see the minimum age raised from 18 to 21. Currently, online casinos have an age requirement of 21 years, however, 18 year-olds are allowed to partake in the national lottery and online sports betting.
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