The Belgian National Lottery has paused all forms of sports betting advertising during the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup to help protect consumers from gambling-related harm. The latest announcement was made by the Belgian Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem, who is in charge of the Lottery.
As per the announcement, the Lottery informed it will not advertise sports betting via radio, TV, and written press during the World Cup in Qatar, which kicked off on 20 November and runs until 18 December.
"The National Lottery is taking a leading role in protecting players and fighting gambling addiction," the Minister said in a press release on Sunday. "At a World Cup, the sport and supporter experience should be central."
"Advertising for sports betting should have no place in broadcasts or reports via television, radio, and written press," he added, as reported by The Brussels Times. "The National Lottery is already setting a good example by not advertising its sports betting on these channels."
According to Van Peteghem's policy, the World Cup is traditionally a time when more people find their way to sports betting, which is why player protection and the fight against gambling addiction are so important. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Belgian Gambling Commission found that half of the newly registered gamblers were people gambling for the first time.
"As advertising only reinforces this trend, the National Lottery will not advertise its sports betting activities via radio, television, and written press during the Qatar World Cup," he further explained.
The decision came after Belgium last month introduced its latest responsible gambling measure in the form of a new, €200 weekly loss limit. The lower limit was announced in July by a royal decree, having been put forward by Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne. Previously, net deposits were limited to €500 per week, after an April 2020 decree.
Players may request to have their limit raised, but only if they are not registered as defaulters with the Central Individual Credit Register of the National Bank.
Belgian Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem
In May, the government also announced plans to introduce a blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising. The ban would apply to ads for all games of chance available legally in Belgium across online and land-based facilities, with the exception of the National Lottery.
This move after Belgium’s government in March introduced new restrictions on stakes, betting times, and advertising for the country’s newsagents as part of a raft of new amendments.
Van Peteghem guaranteed that the Lottery would continue to play a leading role in the fight against gambling addiction and channel players toward safer gaming environments in the coming years.
He further stated that in his new National Lottery Policy letter, he will propose further policies to parliament related to the National Lottery and its commitment to responsible gambling and operations.