More and more countries are trying to place tighter restrictions on gambling advertising on television and Belgium happens to be the newest on the list.
As stated by Belgian media, Justice Minister Koen Geens is working on new legislation that would notably limit gaming operators’ freedom to broadcast the advertisements on local television channels. Allegedly, the idea is fully supported by Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), already known as one of the very strict regulatory agencies in Europe.
Among other things, prohibitions will include a ban on advertising gambling products before 8 PM, as well as removing those ads during live sports broadcasts, both commercials in a traditional way and on-screen banners during the match.
BGC will also control the content of the advertisements, with a permission to remove every ad that contains excessive gambling activity, or is in any way inappropriate. Nevertheless, what “excessive” and “inappropriate” exactly mean is still not precisely defined.
Minister Geens also plans to introduce a new official standard that would oblige all gambling operators to include gambling problem warning in all promotion materials. If they fail to comply this mandatory part in any way, a certain fine will be charged.
Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO), trade group of Belgian gambling industry, supports government’s efforts to create an explicit legal framework for gambling advertising that is responsible and in accordance with ethical principles. On the other hand, however, BAGO warns the government not to get too enthusiastic over banning the contents it finds incongruous. The warning comes with a logical background.
As it is already known, Belgian regulated online gambling market exists for six years now and according to BAGO, roughly 15% of Belgian gamblers still use internationally licensed gambling sites, even though prescribed punishment by BGC is on for those players. However, that number is likely to increase to 50%, if Belgian gaming operators are not allowed to adequately conduct their promotional activities, warns BAGO.
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