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Belgium ministers approve gambling advertising curbs

Belgium’s Minister for Justice Koen Geens has been given the nod by the Council of Ministers to craft a system of curbs on the way gambling services are advertised on local broadcast media. Minister Geens first announced that he was working on such a bill on the matter back in June.

Belgium’s legalized gambling market was first established in 1999. The Betting and Gaming Act, the country’s gambling law, was adopted that year to allow the provision of different forms of games of chance within the country’s borders. Minister Geens, who is member of the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party, said earlier this year that certain changes need to be introduced to the Act, ones that would limit significantly sports betting operators in advertising their services on broadcast media in a manner that could potentially encourage minors and other vulnerable people into gambling.

Here it is important to note that it was namely the CD&V party that proposed earlier this year that the minimum age for online gambling is raised to 21 from 18 for all forms of gambling. Currently, Belgian citizens aged 18 can bet on sports and purchase National Lottery tickets, but cannot play at online casinos. The minimum gambling age for online casinos is 21.


What Will Belgium’s Gambling Advertising Curbs Include?

As reported by local news outlets, Minister Geens’ bill is planned to include several important clarifications and requirements as to how gambling services should be advertised on broadcast media.

First and foremost, no gambling ads will be allowed to appear on Belgian television before an 8 pm watershed. The 8 pm watershed will not be valid in cases of sports events. However, gambling ads will not be allowed during actual sports events. They should only be broadcast shortly before and shortly after the events.

Gambling advertising content will not be allowed to appear on sports equipment and kits as part of Minister Geens’ crackdown on gambling ads.

Advertising content should not be broadcast less than 15 minutes before and after programs that are particularly aimed at children.

In addition, operators will be required to add messages for responsible gambling to their advertisements. At present, operators are encouraged to add such messages and warnings to their ads, but are not obliged to do so. Minister Greene intends to make the practice mandatory.

The Minister’s proposals came before the Council of Ministers as a preliminary draft of a bill that would aim to restrict excessive gambling advertising in a bid to protect vulnerable people from falling victim to gambling addiction and problem gambling behavior. Minister Geens said that people should not be encouraged or misled into spending more money on gambling than they could afford.…

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Source: EEGaming.