Belgium Bans More Advertising: Will the Practice Take Hold Across Western Europe?

Lee R. - May 31, 2019

The Belgian bans are part of a greater potential wave of bans as options for balancing liberalised markets.

Belgian's sweeping advertising bans just swept farther.

The New Ban

The latest directive from CDV Minister Christian Democrat Koen Geens gambling protection mandate sanctions an across the board ban from the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) on all online casino services and gambling products on Belgian TV networks.

Belgian Reform History

Taking effect June 1st, the crackdowns on gambling advertising are part of an ongoing reform of Belgian gambling laws across 2018 and 2019.

Imposing Identification Measures

A technological component to the crackdowns includes the requirement of the Belgian government that
licensed operators register all players through the government-sponsored ITSME customer verification app.

Land-based Effect

In the land-based arena, the BGC is seeking a cap on arcade and café machine game prizes while further requiring all retail premises offering gambling services including the national lottery to integrate e-ID readers to perform customer age checks.


The ban is not complete, and some exceptions will be made. A+ and B+ gaming licence holders as well as casino and gaming hall licensees will be allowed to advertise via sites licensed by the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), or via personalised advertising, a form of advertising which uses user behaviour and interest data to target players.

Those who will be continue to be permitted to advertise after 8 PM include sportsbook licensees, or F1+ licence holders, but not around live sports broadcasts.

Celebrity Ad Bans

Another ban on advertising operators will be subject to is a prohibition from using celebrities or athletes to promote their sites, and a cap on bonus offers will be introduced.

Bans in Other Countries

The only other European country with a similar precedent for sweeping anti-advertising legislation is Italy, where a blanket ban has been brought into force on advertising, apart from a limited exemption for land-based venues. Newly liberalised Sweden and Spain are taking a hard look at ad bans as well, and the UK will enforce a ban on advertising before and during live sport broadcasts from the start of the 2019-20 football season.


The benefits of bans prioritise the citizen over the operator, and the relative level of self-exclusion and addiction that is reported could well become become the twin benchmarks for determining the effectiveness of advertising bans across Europe forthwith.



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