The Government of Belgium has declared that gambling advertisements will be prohibited in the country starting July 1 of this year. This is except for the National Lottery.
The official date was confirmed after its publishing in Belgium's Official Gazette. The ban applies to all forms of advertising from gambling entities, including online casinos and land-based venues, except for the National Lottery.
Vincent van Quickenborne, the Justice Minister of Belgium, lauded the announcement, saying that a firm decision had been made following the publication in the country's Official Gazette. The minister said that the normalization and banalization of betting must end, confirming the new restrictions will take effect from July 1, 2023.
Meanwhile, the justice minister said that the sports section would get a transitional period to adjust to the new regulations. On January 1 2025, stadium sports advertising will be forbidden across Belgium. In addition, online casinos and sportsbook brands will no longer be allowed to sponsor sports teams in Belgium starting on January 1, 2028.
The ban on gambling adverts in Belgium was first announced on May 10. As expected, this decision drew broad criticism in the months that followed.
In June, Franc Weerwind, the Dutch minister for Legal Protection, opposed the ban, calling for the government to create a more regulated gaming environment instead of imposing an outright ban.
The Belgian Gaming Commission (Kansspelcommissie) had requested a limit to be applied to gambling ads in the country weeks before the ban. On the other hand, the Belgian National Lottery had to come out and deny claims of influencing ministers to back the ban.
Online gambling in Belgium has been legal since 2011. Like many European countries, the government of Belgium controls the majority of gambling activities in the country through the National Lottery. The latest move will only make the government-owned entity stronger.