While the gambling regulator has taken a strong stand against gambling adverts in the country, five Belgian gambling operators have announced to stop advertising gambling products.
Golden Palace Casino, Ardent Group, Napoleon Games, Unibet, and Betfirst have confirmed in a joint statement that they would not be advertising any gambling products across the radio, TV and print media from January 1.
“We are aware of the excessive presence of gambling advertising in recent years. With this initiative we want to bring serenity back,” Emmanuel Mewissen, the CEO of Ardent said.
“An online advertising stop is impossible because otherwise we will be blown away by the illegal sector. The whole purpose of the new Gaming Act in 2010 was to curb the illegal sector by giving legal companies enough freedom,” he added.
While announcing the ban the companies also alleged differential treatment. They said that the national lottery should also come under the gambling advertising restrictions as their products are not much different from those of gambling operators’.
“But they’re exempt from all restrictions on advertising that apply to us, also because the Lottery [is] involved in the cockpit of the gambling commission via the government. That makes the Loterij the party and the judge. We want to work out our agreement with the government into a rule for the entire sector,” the companies said.
Earlier in May, the government approved a directive of CDV Minister (Christian Democrat) Koen Geens’ ‘gambling protection mandate’. The directive calls for allowing the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC)to implement stricter regulations for gambling adverts which would also apply to all licensed gambling operators in the country.