Blanket Ad Ban to Comes into Effect in Belgium as of July; Not Without ProtestPublished July 5, 2023 by Lee R
A major European market is putting in an ad ban after Belgium courts quashed a major appeal.
A litany of operators and sports organisations challenging a court-ordered ad ban in Belgium have been defeated.
The Royal Decree banning gambling advertising took effect July 1st after Tornai’s Court of First Instance on June 29 deemed the decree lawful and rejected an appeal that included both operators and sports teams.
Minister of Justice Vincent van Quickenbone expressed pleasure that Belgium’s extreme ban could go forward as decreed:
I am pleased that the judge confirms that this drastic restriction on gambling advertising is a proportionate and legally based measure.
The Minister further expressed hopes that the rejection of the appeal would conclude “all attempts at lobbying and legal sabotage from the gambling sector and sectors addicted to gambling money.”
Leading the Resistance
That strong admonishment was directed at the several major Belgium sports operators who took it upon themselves to spearhead a challenge to the Royal Decree on March 24th. The rebellion was joined by Belgium’s premiere-level football and ice hockey leagues Pro League and the BeNe League, all of whom went to court seeking to have the ban suspended.
The effort was bolstered in the form of 11 other similar suits being filed by other sports teams and operators in courts across Belgium.
Participating Sports Organisations
The court ruled against the pro sports league because the sponsorship ban does not take effect until 2027, giving sports organisations ample time to prepare. The courts ruled similarly against other prominent filing organisations including Club Brugge, Cercle Brugge, OH Leuven, KV Kortrijk, KRC Genk, and Napoleon Games.
Organizational appeals in other Belgium courts from RFC Seraing, Standard Liège, Racing Molenbeek, Brussels Basketball, Continuum Sports Belgium, Golden Palace, and SA Gambling were all referred to the Tournai court for a summary judgment.
Breaking up the Opposition
The court shot down the coalition formed between operators and sports teams, ruling that the Royal Decree exemplifies a “legitimate aim of public interest.”
Minister of Justice van Quickenbone proclaimed a new era:
From 1 July, the tidal wave of gambling advertising in our country will be over.
Goals of Ban
The Minister of Justice further asserted that the new ban enables the powers that be to “finally fully” protect “the many addicted gamblers and their families from its devastating impact. With these measures we will also protect minors against its normalising effect.”
Besides minimal exceptions, the blanket ban in Belgium will now be put to the test as a standardised policy in a major European market.