Ban on advertising for most forms of gambling from July 2023

The Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Flemish liberal) has announced plans that will see a ban on most forms of advertising for gambling. From next July commercials on television, radio and in cinemas will be banned as will online advertising for gambling products that features video images or imagery. Meanwhile, a number of transitional measures will be built into the ban ensuring that gambling companies will still be able to be involved in sports sponsorship.

A draft Royal Decree that was drawn up by Mr Van Quickenborne had already been given the all-clear by the Council of State and the European Commission. On Friday it was approved by the Federal Cabinet.

Most of the restrictions on the advertising of gambling products will come into effect on 1 July 2023. From then advertising for gambling will be banned on television, radio and in cinemas. Video advertising for gambling on websites, social media and other digital platforms will also be banned as will advertisements in magazines or newspapers. 

Posters advertising gambling products will also be banned in public places (bus shelters, advertising hoarding, etc.) as will personalised advertising sent by e-mail, letter, messaging services, text message or through social media. Flyers advertising gambling will also be banned.  

On top of this strict rules will be in place for the advertising for gambling products that is still allowed. The idea behind the measures is that people that want to gamble will still be able to do, but they will actively have to look for information about, for example the address of their local betting shop. 

Sports sponsorship

From 1 January 2025 all advertising for gambling including banners, posters, billboards, and audio and video commercials, will be banned from sports stadiums. 

The only exception to this will be shirt sponsorship. Advertising for gambling on football shirts will be permitted until the end of 2027, albeit with some restrictions. Only a logo with the name of the company or product will be permitted. 

There will also be restrictions on the size of the logo and it will not be allowed to put the logo on the front of the football shirt. Mr Van Quickenborne told VRT News that from 1 January 2028 shirt sponsorship promoting gambling products will be banned at all professional sports clubs.

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