Belgian Online Gambling Trade Group Warns of Dangers of Proposed Advertising Restrictions

Claims black market would profit

Belgian media reported over the weekend that a new bill is in the works that would clarify what is and is not permitted with regards to gambling advertising.

The bill proposes a ban on ads during live sports reporting and before 8pm except for broadcasted live sports events.

In the new rules, operators would also be required to include warnings in their adverts.

The Belgian Gambling Commission already has the power to ban ads that encourage excessive gambling but as the rules had not been made explicit, enforcement was difficult.

Belgium’s recently formed online gambling trade group, BAGO, released a statement saying that although they favoured a clear regulatory framework they felt that advertising was an essential educational tool that helps protect consumers.

Citing studies by H2 Gambling Capital, they further claimed that without advertising black market activity could soar from the current 15% to 50%.

Established in December of 2016, BAGO’s members include Ladbrokes, the Ardent Group, Unibet, BetFIRST and the Golden Palace Group.

Another contested issue in the Belgian market is the rate of taxation. The Remote Gaming Association has submitted an official complaint with the EU regarding what they consider unfair tax rates.