Belgium bans all gambling advertising/marketing from 1 July 2023 and applies to all media platforms.
From 2028, the government bans sponsorship of gambling as well.
Starting from July 1, 2023, the Belgian Government has decided to ban all gambling advertisements. The country has tightened its advertising rules, and the new decree bans all broadcast and online ads, as well as all gambling ads in public spaces.
Belgium bans all gambling advertising
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The decision sees the government sanction the Gambling Advertising Reforms Royal Decree drafted by Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, which called on the government to ban gambling advertising from 2020.
“With the publication in the Belgian Official Gazette, the decision is now clear: gambling advertising will be severely restricted from 1 July 2023,” he said.
“This is necessary because the normalization and trivialization of gambling must finally stop.”
Gambling advertising is prohibited on television, radio, cinemas, magazines, newspapers, in all public spaces and online on websites and social networks starting July 1. Starting from January 1, 2025, gambling advertising in sports stadiums is prohibited. It also bans the sponsorship of gambling in professional sports from January 1, 2028.
As a result of the ban, since July, sponsorship expenses are no longer tax deductible for gambling companies. This government decision is based on scientific research showing that advertising causes gambling addiction and gambling-related debt.
“The Government is deeply concerned about the impact of the huge amounts of gambling advertising facing our society. And for those who want to break their gambling addiction, the tsunami of gambling advertising is an additional problem,” said Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.
History of changes
The Minister of Justice initially proposed a ban on gambling ads last year, and a sponsorship ban starting in 2024. The Belgian Association of Gambling Operators (BAGO) criticized the proposal, saying players would have difficulty distinguishing legal operators from the illegal ones. According to the association, one in three gambling operators advertising on social networks in Belgium is unlicensed and operating illegally.
The Belgian Gambling Commission has proposed strict measures on gambling advertising, but has not called for a blanket ban. The commission’s proposal called for limiting gambling ads, banning personalized ads targeting certain groups of players and more power to act quickly when rules were broken.
However, the ban on advertising in Belgium follows the decision taken in the Netherlands. Similarly, the government banned all gambling advertising from 2023 and delayed the sports sponsorship ban until 2025 to give football teams time to adapt. Although planned for January, the ban in the Netherlands has not yet been implemented.
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