New Proposals Draw a Line in the Screen in BelgiumPublished June 24, 2017 by Lee R
Support is spreading rapidly for new advertising restrictions drafted by the Belgian government.
In Belgium, leadership is calling for tighter restrictions on TV gambling advertising.
Controlling TV Advertisement
Justice Minister Koen Geens is calling for the restrictions founded on the identification of times in which TV gambling ads can be shown, measures which on principle have already been endorsed by the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) as well.
The measures would ban gambling ads on TV before 8pm as well as block them completely during broadcasts of live sporting events, as reported by Belgian news website nieuwsblad.be.
Further restrictions include subjection of all permitted gambling ads to ongoing review for being deemed “excessive” in promoting gambling activity, a distinction which will also result in removal. Formal definitions of excessive remain to be decided.
Further new proposals include banning the appearance of banners on-screen during televised games and half-time commercials, as well as mandatory inclusion of problem gambling warnings in marketing materials and fines for violating operators.
At this point, online gambling is legal in over 20 countries. It has been legal in Belgium since 2002, with the regulated Belgian market coming into effect six years ago. The regulation of the country’s online gambling market launched about six years ago.
Gambling Insider recently published a Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) report indicating that 15% of Belgians play on internationally licensed gambling sites, with BAGO estimating that number to increase by some 35 percent if the new proposals pass.
Parliamentary Voice Supports
The new proposals were also welcomed by Belgian Parliament Member Peter De Decker, who compared the proposals to current examples of similar precedents, pointing out that “For tobacco advertising there are already strict rules and there are ethical standards around alcohol,” and called for similar measures in gambling.
The Key Restriction
The standard that really stands out is the ban against bannering during sporting matches, meaning that Belgium is drawing a clear line between sports viewing and sports betting. When blurred, this distinction would present as one of the key mechanisms by which all Western European players cross the line into problem gambling.
It seems a positive step for Belgium to assert the distinction between viewing and gambling which overaggressive advertisements otherwise would gloss over.