Draft Royal Decree Limiting Gambling Advertising Approved in Belgium

A draft royal decree has been approved by the Belgian government that will introduce restrictions on gambling adverts and restrict sports sponsorships from 2025.

The first stage of the decree is expected to be enacted on June 1, 2023. It will place limits on all forms of advertising of betting services. The measures due to come into effect in 2025 will limit sponsorships of sports clubs by gambling firms.

The Belgian prime minister’s office has said that the new measures have been approved. However, opponents of the decree, such as the chairman of political party MR, Georges-Louis Bouchez, have said that government partners still need to discuss the text of the decree.

The plans to place limits on gambling advertising and sponsorship were first introduced in May 2022 and at the time, there were no objections from the Belgian Council of State or the European Commission.

When Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne first presented the decree earlier this year, he quoted a number of problem gambling statistics. For instance, he highlighted that a study showed that 33% of problem gamblers were convinced to continue gambling after being sent marketing emails. The same study also found that 31% of problem gamblers returned after viewing gambling advertising.

The decree will ban gambling adverts on posters in public spaces and personalized advertising via email, post, text message, social networks, and all forms of print.

Sports clubs have been granted more time to negotiate new advertising and sponsorship deals, which is why the restrictions will not be introduced until 2025. Furthermore, they will be allowed to display a gambling brand logo on the back of shirts until December 2027.

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