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Belgian National Lottery halts betting ads during World Cup

Belgium gambling news

Belgium’s Federal Finance Minister, Vincent Van Petegrem, has stated that while the FIFA World Cup is ongoing in Qatar, the National Lottery will not advertise sports betting on radio, TV, or in print media.

Even though sports betting is allowed in Belgium through licensed operators, a bill was passed in May this year to completely ban ads on gambling except for National Lottery. However, there has been a standstill on the implementation of the law.

And in a time where other countries will be taking advantage of the World Cup to record high revenue turnouts, the National Lottery has ceased advertising its sports wagering services, which is most likely going to cause a decline in the operator’s financial coffers.

According to Petegrem, the move is aimed at protecting problem gamblers and promoting safe gambling as a whole.

“The National Lottery is taking a leading role in protecting players and fighting gambling addiction. At a World Cup, the sport and supporter experience should be central,” he said in a press release.

“Advertising for sports betting should have no place in broadcasts or reports via television, radio and written press. The National Lottery is already setting a good example by not advertising its sports betting on these channels.”

In May, the Belgian government published a draft while appealing to the European Union to endorse the prohibition measure. The draft provided a few justifications for its desire to enact the proposed ban on betting ads.

“Gambling advertising is ubiquitous on television, radio, social media and the streets. Such advertising is not without danger to public health and society. Advertising normalises gambling in society. Through advertising, gambling is presented as socially and culturally acceptable behaviour and as a legitimate leisure activity. This is detrimental to more vulnerable groups such as minors, young people and gambling addicts,” it read.

“In the absence of a rule at European Union level, member states are free to lay down the rules in this area. With a view to improving player protection, the purpose of this decree is therefore to limit the forms of advertising permitted in the field of gambling and betting and to impose rules on the content of such advertising.”

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