Belgium launches industry consultation on ad restrictions

25 September 2019

The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has launched a consultation on the sweeping advertising restrictions that came into effect from 1 June this year, through which it is looking to understand the challenges operators face in complying with the new controls.

These controls were introduced to ramp up player protection standards in the country, after the country’s government found online gambling advertising to have become “ubiquitous”, with more than 1m players registering with licensed operators.

As a result, advertising online casino games on television was banned, due to slots being seen as being a particularly risky form of play.

The advertising of sports betting, while still permitted across all channels, is now heavily restricted. Adverts for sports books must not be shown during live sports broadcasts, though is permitted before and after the event starts. There is also a fifteen minute window either side of programmes aimed at children or young people in which no ads can be broadcast.

The promotion of bonuses anywhere but the operator’s website have also been banned, while offers to reimburse players for losses are also prohibited.

Furthemore, players have been set a weekly spending cap of €500 per week, which can be reduced with immediate effect. They may request to increase their spending limit, though must three days before this is implemented, while a credit check must be carried out as part of the approval process.

All ads must also carry the message “Jouez avec modération” (Play in moderation), with this messaging to account for at least 4% of the ad space.

Operators have been asked to send their comments and suggestions to the BGC by 4 October. There will also be an opportunity to present their observations to the sub commission handling the consultation on 15 October, provided they confirm their attendance by 11 October.