Belgian national football team

Belgian National Lottery ends betting ads during World Cup amid wider restrictions

Throughout the duration of the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Belgian National Lottery will not show any advertisements for sports betting products.

Local media outlined that Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem has taken a more restrictive approach towards betting similar to his colleague in the Ministry of Justice, Vincent van Quickenborne. SBC News Belgian National Lottery ends betting ads during World Cup amid wider restrictions

Van Peteghem has decided that the National Lottery will not advertise any sports betting products via television, radio or in written articles, having noted that in the 2018 World Cup nearly half of bettors were doing so for the first time.

The Minister explained: “The National Lottery is taking a leading role in protecting players and fighting gambling addiction. At a World Cup, the sport and supporter experience should be central.

“Advertising for sports betting should have no place in broadcasts or reports via television, radio and written press. The National Lottery is already setting a good example by not advertising its sports betting on these channels.”

The announcement is the latest in a series of political clampdowns on betting and gaming’s visibility in Belgium, which has included a range of new advertising restrictions.

Notably, the aforementioned Justice Minister, Van Quickenborne, proposed a Royal Decree back in May which would ban most forms of betting advertising by the end of the year. 

The plans would continue into the new year, with a schedule for a ban on all forms of sports betting marketing by 2024, with the Minister comparing gambling to ‘the new smoking’.

“Belgium is following the international trend. Italy and Spain have implemented a complete advertising ban and the Netherlands and the UK are working on similar rules,” he commented at the time.

In the months since, Belgium’s stance on gambling advertising has become clearer, as in June the Council of State upheld the Belgian Gambling Commission’s (BGC) rulings on the issue.

Sponsorship is counted as a form of advertising in Belgium, prohibition of betting promotion during sports tournaments is extended beyond TV and radio, and the minimum age requirement and “Gamble in moderation!” slogan must be clearly viewable in any marketing.

Two months later, a draft Royal Decree was presented to the European Commission (EC), the aim of which is to ‘limit the forms of advertising’ available to operators.

A statement on the EC website read: “Gambling advertising is ubiquitous on television, radio, social media and the streets. Such advertising is not without danger to public health and society. Advertising normalises gambling in society. Through advertising, gambling is presented as socially and culturally acceptable behaviour and as a legitimate leisure activity.”

In other developments, a Royal Decree enforcing a €200 monthly loss limit came into force, reducing the established limit by €300, although customers can gain permission to wager with higher sums via a process involving the operator, BGC and National Bank of Belgium.

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