The Belgian government has introduced new restrictions
on gambling advertising in the country.
Belgium's Council of Ministers approved a bill Friday
submitted by Justice Minister Koen Geens, which aims to strengthen consumer
The new legislation, which is subject to European
Commission approval, aims to restrict gambling advertising around sporting
broadcasts. It will ban advertisements during the course of a game, although
sports betting operators will be allowed to advertise before and after games.
Advertising gambling services within 15 minutes before or
after a programme aimed specifically at children will also be prohibited, as
will all sports betting advertising prior to 8pm, excluding those before and
after sports broadcasts.
Gaming operators will also be restricted to buying one
advertising spot per company per commercial break, with all ads required to
feature responsible gambling messaging.
For land-based operators, the legislation
introduces new measures to limit gambling in drinking establishments, and
to reduce the total number of licensed betting shops in the country from 684 to
This will see Belgium's municipalities handed greater
oversight for betting venues, including the final decision as to where a
shop can be located and its opening hours – controls which are already in place
for gaming halls.
Finally, new controls will be introduced for so-called
"3.3" machines, where players try to match three identical figures,
similar to a slot. These are frequently located in drinking establishments such
as pubs and cafes and are seen as posing a particular risk to problem gamblers.
As a result they will be placed under the control of the
Belgian Gaming Commission and the local authorities, with a maximum of
four 3.3 machines allowed per establishment. The machines will be required
to only accept payment in coins and must feature an electronic identity card
reader to ensure that all players are 18 or over.
The legislation was approved Friday by the Council of
Ministers, but is yet to be submitted to the European Commission for approval.