Further bans starting in 2025

Belgium to ban most forms of gambling advertising as of July 1

Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.
Reading time 1:47 min

The Belgian government has decided to ban gambling advertising across multiple platforms as of July 1 in a bid to crack down on addiction and debt, with a further prohibition on ads in stadiums and sports sponsorships coming at a later date. 

The dates of enforcement and a breakdown of the new limitations were all detailed in a Royal Decree signed by King Philippe and published in the Belgian Official Gazette on Wednesday. 

Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said: “The government is deeply concerned about the impact of the huge amounts of gambling advertising that our society is facing. And for those who want to get rid of their gambling addiction, the tsunami of gambling advertising is an additional problem.”

Gambling advertising will be banned from television, radio, cinemas, magazines, newspapers and in public spaces. Online advertising on websites and social media will also be prohibited. From January 1, 2025, there will be a further ban on advertising in stadiums and from January 1, 2028 gambling companies will no longer be able to sponsor professional sports clubs, such as soccer teams. 

The ban will mainly focus on professional sports clubs and less so on amateur sports clubs. “After all, professional sports clubs have much higher visibility, their players are role models for minors and these clubs also sell shirts as merchandising,” Van Quickenborne explained. 

The government argued that the ban follows scientific research showing that advertising encourages gambling addiction and contributes to gambling-related debt. As part of the new rules, sponsorship expenses will no longer be tax deductible for gambling companies. 

Belgium’s crackdown started by imposing limits on gambling in newsagents at the start of 2022. Later that year, a limit was placed on the maximum amount that could be spent on online gambling games. 

The latest measure is so far the most far-reaching one, as it will see the main forms of gambling ads banned on all possible platforms. Though the rules will significantly limit the dissemination of gambling advertising in the public sphere, those who actively seek information about gambling may still be confronted with related advertising. 

Van Quickenborne also referred to the European ruling that allows Dutch casinos close to the Belgian border to advertise in Belgium as well. “To be clear: this in no way affects the introduction of these rules. On the contrary,” he noted, explaining that the rules will apply to domestic and foreign casinos.  

Last year, Van Qiuckenborne warned that the gambling industry was “making more and more profit in our country, all ‘thanks to’ people with a gambling addiction.”  According to official data, more than 100,000 active gamblers in Belgium have a gambling disorder, and a third of them have a severe addiction.

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