Belgium Government bans online gambling and betting advertisements

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In an effort to combat gambling addiction and debt, Belgium Government has imposed a strict prohibition on gambling and betting related ads. As per the reports, the ban will come into effect from July 1, 2023.

According to a TGM Sports Betting survey conducted between October 2021 and October 2022, around 23.71% of Belgians were involved in sports betting. Vincent van Quickenborne, Minister of Justice, praised the order, saying that “the measure is necessary because it must put an end to the trivialisation and normalization of gambling.”

The restriction will apply to all platforms, including public billboards, social media, and television commercials. This measure will also control the sponsorship of sports teams by gambling firms. The new law forbids gambling ads in stadiums beginning in January 2025, and professional sports clubs beginning in January 2028.

A similar situation for illegal offshore betting and gambling website is also undergoing in India, with government issuing several advisories to OTTs and Cable Network platforms on not to advertise these sites and companies.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) also instructed Google to not allow any gambling related ads on their platform, to which the tech giant responded claiming that the advertising policy prohibit gambling adverts.

The popular search engine, however, seems to be not following up on their words on gambling adverts despite publicly saying in December 2022 in response to I&B Ministry that it would not allow adverts for unlawful gaming and betting platforms.

European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) have raise concerns, however, claiming that a direct ban may not be the solution. Speaking to Euronews, Secretary General of the EGBA, Maarten Haijer said, “Without advertising, there is no real way for Belgians to tell the difference between a gambling website which is safe – because it is licensed and applies the consumer protection rules in Belgium – and one that is not.”

“Under the law, lottery products will continue to be advertised which will directly benefit the state-owned lottery provider over other Belgian licensed providers,” he concluded.