If the state-run lottery in Belgium takes action on gambling ads, the operators will follow their lead. They will do so voluntarily. Of note, sports promotions and online sponsorships are exempt.
Five of them (members of the Belgian Association of Gaming Operators) are curbing advertising on radio and TV, in newspapers and magazines, at bus shelters and on outdoor billboards. The starting date is January 1, 2020.
Included in the agreement are the Ardent Group, Betfirst, Golden Palace, Napoleon Games and the Kindred Group’s Unibet brand. These are powerful operators that control two-thirds of the country’s gaming market.
In fact, Emmanuel Mewissen, Ardent CEO, has stated that licensed gambling operators had an excessive presence in the nation’s public consciousness, particularly during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and said the self-imposed ad ban was intended to restore serenity.
Who will go first
Addressing the issue, these BAGO members are asking Minister of Justice Koen Greens to force the National Lottery to join the “big five” in the advertising pullback.
Mewissen said the BAGO members
“…want to work out our agreement with the government into a rule for the entire sector, including the National Lottery.”
Someone will get the ball rolling to adhere to the new limits on gambling ads. The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) is consulting with stakeholders to determine how they’re coping with the new rules.
It will be possible for licensees to comment on the ad restriction in a meeting scheduled for October 15.
For some reason, the National Lottery was not included initially to the objection of the BAGO members. They believe it should be subject to the same set of rules.
Against ad control, studies have shown that an overly restrictive advertising regime would allow internationally-licensed online operators to control over half of Belgium’s market within five years of the implement of the new rules.
Other gambling news in Belgium
Betway is in the news for opposing the suspension of its Belgian operations. In fat, the Betway.be site currently states that the company needed to make some changes to the Betway software due to a change in regulation.
The BGC had started a sanction procedure early in the year, claiming a lack of transparency in Betway’s ownership structure.
The organization objects to two of Betway’s subsidiaries receiving separate gambling licenses. It is because one is online and the other is land based. The issue remains unsolved.