Belgium approves tough directives on online gambling advertising

Belgium becomes the latest European jurisdiction to serve industry leadership more headaches, confirming that it will move ahead with its planned decree to implement a stringent advertising code on gambling/betting verticals.

Directives for a tougher advertising framework on online gambling and betting services have been under review by Belgium’s Parliament since October 2017, when CDV (Christian Democrats) Justice Minister Koen Geens won cross-party support to forward the mandate.

In its November update, the Belgian government confirmed that it would move to install a number of CDV’s directives, including implementing a complete ban on online casino TV advertising.

The TV advertising ban is supported by a tougher digital advertising framework for online casino operators, who will be restricted to promoting services on government approved websites, with a limited scope on messaging.

As anticipated, the Belgian government will further impose an 8 pm TV watershed on sports betting advertising, with no marketing coverage allowed during live sports broadcasts.

Further sports betting restrictions see the government support a ban on celebrity or athlete endorsements of gambling products/services.

Since 2011, Belgium has operated its online gambling/betting regulatory policy under the directives of its revamped ‘Belgian Gaming Act’, a mandate challenged by online incumbents stating that the government has placed number of provisions favouring established land-based operators, which have led to restrictive market conditions.