Belgium and the Netherlands have enacted new regulations to limit public betting and gambling adverts from July 1, 2023. In Belgium, the new regulations will affect all forms of sports betting adverts, including shirt sponsorships. However, the Belgian National Lottery is an exception due to its charitable contributions.
Reforms in both Belgium and the Netherlands result from the influence of the two countries' respective government figures. Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium's Justice Minister, and Franc Weerwind, the Netherlands' Minister for Legal Protection, have been leading the charge to ban public betting ads.
A similar situation is currently ongoing in Australia, with the parliamentary inquiry team recently releasing its report. The report recommends banning gambling ads in four phases within a 3-year period. However, the government is yet to support the recommendations publicly.
Back in Belgium, Van Quickenborne presented a Royal Decree in May 2022 prohibiting betting advertising, drawing a comparison with "new smoking". In July of that same year, his Dutch counterpart, Weerwind, revealed his own set of reforms.
In March 2023, the Belgian government announced a far-reaching ban on betting and gaming advertising, including sports sponsorships. After July 1, 2023, all betting ads will be illegal on public media like radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, and public places.
In addition, betting companies will no longer advertise their services in stadiums from January 1, 2025. The new law will prevent regulated sports betting operators from sponsoring professional sports teams by January 1, 2023 as well.
On July 1, the Netherlands Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit/KSA) officially implemented the betting ad ban while claiming the ban is a bit milder than Belgium's. It's now illegal for Dutch betting companies to advertise on television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. This also includes ads in public places like billboards and bus stops.
Thankfully, marketing online continues, although with stricter rules. Betting companies can advertise their services via the general online, social media apps, direct mailing, and on-demand TV.
The KSA has made it clear to operators that the objective of the prohibition is to shield vulnerable groups, including young adults, from gambling addictions. Additionally, the regulator has reiterated that betting companies must have proper recruitment policies.
The Authority declared:
"The KSA warns permit holders not to push boundaries. If the KSA encounters obvious violations, it will immediately take enforcement action."