game show

Belgian GC supports ban on ‘televised games of chance’ in latest regulatory crackdown

The Belgian Gaming Commission (GC) has announced further restrictions on the country’s gambling industry, supporting a proposed ban on ‘game shows’.

Popular in Belgium since the early 2000s, the game in question functions as a form of ‘game of chance’ according to the regulatory, and requires an operating licence.

Regulatory oversight for the games was first handed over to the GC in 2006, following a decision by policy makers two years earlier, and legislation was further updated in 2010 to include ‘televised games of chance’ in the regulatory and licensing framework.

In its most recent assessment, the GC has argued that the current framework on ‘televised games of chance’ is ‘completely out of date’ due to changing trends between 2010 and 2022. 

Specifically, the regulator argues that it cannot guarantee compliance with the rules and can only base its assessment on what quiz show participants inform them.

The GC added participation in these game shows has become ‘extremely limited’ to the point where its secretariat’s workload is ‘no longer reasonably proportional’.

“Consequently, the GC considers that the existence of ‘game shows’ is no longer desirable and that the 2010 legislation is absolutely out of date,” the commission’s statement on the ban read.

“The GC proposes to remove these games from the scope of the law on games of chance and from the sphere of competence of the GC, which will lead to their prohibition.

“Regarding the other media games, the GC considers that they must be able to be exploited without a licence from the GC and outside its control if they respect certain conditions. 

“This is why the GC proposes to treat them as card games, lunapark games or other games requiring only a limited stake, whether they are exploited in traditional media or via digital media.”

The GC considers the programmes a form of gambling for four reasons – firstly, participants must pay to call in to answer quiz questions on the programme, and an element of chance lies in whether they will be answered. 

Additionally, the ‘bet’ in these shows is in the form of a charge which is higher than the price for a usual phone conversation. 

This then serves as the ‘stake’ which can be lost if the participant’s call is not answered or the wrong answer to a question is given, whilst the opposite would be considered a win or ‘gain’.

The GC support for the abolishment of these ‘televised games of chance’ comes towards the end of a year of regulatory changes in Belgium. Notably, July saw the GC confirm a Royal Decree reducing deposit limits on ‘games of chance’ from €500 to €200.

Meanwhile, in May, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne proposed a Royal Decree banning most forms of advertising by the end of the year and all marketing in sports by the end of 2024.

SBC News Belgian GC supports ban on ‘televised games of chance’ in latest regulatory crackdown

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