SBC News Belgium to blackout gambling advertising from 1 July  

Belgium to blackout gambling advertising from 1 July  

Belgium will introduce a ban on all forms of gambling advertising/marketing from 1 July, to be applied across all media platforms. 

The government announced its decision yesterday via its official gazette, confirming that from the set date, Belgium will apply Europe’s toughest advertising rules for gambling.

As such, a blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising will be applied across TV, radio, cinema, magazines, newspapers and in public spaces.

The ban will also cover online advertising on websites and social media platforms, as digital media platforms can no longer offer ad-services targeting Belgian audiences for gambling operators.

The decision sees the government sanction the ‘Royal Decree on Gambling Advertising Reforms’ authored by Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, who has argued for the government to authorise a blanket ban on gambling advertising since 2020.  

“With the publication in the Belgian Official Gazette, the decision is now clear: gambling advertising will be seriously restricted from 1 July 2023,” he said.

“This is necessary because the normalisation and banalisation of gambling must finally stop.”

The Minister justified Belgium enforcing Europe’s toughest advertising laws, stating scientific research showing that advertising encourages gambling addiction and contributes to gambling-related debt.

From 1 Jan 2025 the advertising ban will be applied to Belgium football leagues, which will no longer be allowed to advertise gambling in stadiums.

Meanwhile, Belgium sports clubs (amateur and professional) were granted a grace period up until 1 Jan 2028, to fulfil any existing sponsorship contracts with gambling partners.   

Once introduced, it is unlikely that new advertising laws will be challenged as Van Quickenborne’s decree carries the support from all seven parties in the current Belgian coalition government.

The laws of the Decree have been further authorised by Belgium’s State Council and received its legislative oversight by the European Commission (EC)

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