Gambling advertising in Belgium is expected to face further restrictions after a new report published by the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) criticised the ‘omnipresent’ gambling adverts during the 2019 Jupiler Pro League playoffs.
The report emphasised that football fans are exposed to betting promos from the moment they purchase a match ticket, thanks to their teams’ sponsorship relationships with betting firms.
“The analysis of the gambling advertising shown during the football play-offs and the analysis of the betting data show, on the one hand, that gambling advertising is ubiquitous in football events and on the other hand, that an increase in gambling activity can be observed on the playing days of the play-offs,” the report said.
“The strong relationship between football and gambling, however, can give the public the impression that both matters are inextricably linked, which can furthermore lead to the normalization of gambling behaviour.”
The report also highlighted that 14 of the 18 clubs in the Pro League were sponsored by gambling operators, including all six in the championship playoff, in which teams compete for the league title.
“It is necessary to know whether quantitative restrictions on advertising can be implemented. This can range from an advertising ban, a ban on sponsoring sports clubs or product placement, over a point system to a maximum percentage of the public space that can be occupied by such advertising messages,” the report added. “Based on this, the Gaming Commission can elaborate a targeted control and sanction policy.”
“Advertising for licensed games of chance must be considered as part of the government’s channelisation plans. But under no circumstances can the sky be the limit. Gambling advertising must be done within a clearly defined framework.”