- BGC President Agali Clavie said an advertising ban will move players to the black market
- Other gambling stakeholders previously raised similar concerns
- Clavie argues there shouldn’t be a double standard in gambling legislation
The head of the Belgium Gambling Commission (BGC) has criticized proposals to ban gambling advertising in the country. In an interview with the Bel RTL morning program, BGC President Agali Clavie said the measure would only push people to illegal online gambling sites.
The gambling industry in Belgium is bracing for major reforms this year, including stringent restrictions on advertising and sports sponsorships.
Gambling Ads Ban to Benefit Black Market
Clavie said depriving licensed operators of the ability to advertise their products and services would only benefit the black market which has no safeguards in place, putting players at risk of harm. The BGC boss said the goal is to keep players in the legal gaming circuit which has forced operators to separate casino and sports products and a advertising ban won’t help achieve that.
Clavie’s concerns are shared by other stakeholders, including Reformist Movement (MR) leader Senator Georges-Louis Bouchez, who is opposed to the ban.
Bouchez is among the most vocal critics of the proposal, saying the excessive measure will have a devastating impact on the gambling and sports sector and will move people to illegal platforms that are not regulated. Pro League CEO Lorin Parys and Kindred Belgium General Manager Dennis Mariën also earlier expressed similar sentiments.
Under a Royal Decree first introduced by Justice Minister Vincent van Quickenborne in May 2022, gambling companies in Belgium will be prohibited from advertising on television, radio, social media, and newspapers. They will also no longer be allowed to post ads in public places or advertise their products via email and text messages. The measure could come into effect by the end of 2023, followed by a ban on sports sponsorships in 2024.
Clavie Questions Double Standard in Gambling Ads Ban Proposal
Clavie recognizes the importance of placing restrictions on advertising as gambling can cause harm to players, but she is questioning the “double standard” in the Justice Minister’s proposal, given that the legislation excludes the Lottery which is also a form of gambling. One reason for the exclusion is that the Lottery is run by the State.
Clavie said it doesn’t matter who organizes the game – the point is, Lottery is still a form of gambling and presents the same risks as privately-run gambling services. Therefore, Lottery products should also be subject to the same advertising rules as casinos, online gaming and sports betting.