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Belgian National Lottery halts sports betting ads during World Cup

| By Robert Fletcher
The Belgian National Lottery has paused all forms of sports betting advertising during the ongoing 2022 Fifa World Cup to help protect consumers from gambling-related harm.

In consultation with Belgian minister of finance Vincent van Peteghem, the Lottery agreed to halt ads on television, radio and in the written press for the duration of the tournament, which kicked off on 20 November and runs until 18 December.

As the minister responsible for the Lottery, van Peteghem said consumers are more likely to place a bet during a national football team competition such as World Cup, He referenced a study by the Commission into the 2018 World Cup, during which half of new registrations were first-time gamblers.

Van Peteghem added that as advertising would likely draw more new players to gambling, he made the decision, together with the Lottery, to pause sports betting ads in an effort to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm such as addiction.

“The National Lottery is playing a pioneering role in the protection of players and the fight against gambling addiction,” van Peteghem said. “At a football world championship, the sport and the supporter experience must be central. 

“Sports betting advertising should have no place in broadcasts or reports via television, radio and written press. The National Lottery is already setting a good example by not advertising its sports betting on these channels.”

The decision came after Belgium last month introduced its latest responsible gambling measure in the form of a new, €200 weekly loss limit.

The lower limit was announced in July by a royal decree, having been put forward by minister of justice Vincent van Quickenborne.

Previously, net deposits were limited to €500 per week, after an April 2020 decree.

The limit will continue to apply on a per-site basis, after attempts to introduce a “global” limit – to apply across all operators – fell through.

Players may request to have their limit raised, but only if they are not registered as defaulters with the Central Individual Credit Register of the National Bank.

In May, the government also announced plans to introduce a blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising. The ban would apply to ads for all games of chance available legally in Belgium across online and land-based facilities, with the exception of the National Lottery.

This came after Belgium’s government in March introduced new restrictions on stakes, betting times and advertising for the country’s newsagents as part of a raft of new amendments.

Van Peteghem said that he will soon propose further policies to parliament related to the National Lottery and its commitment to responsible gambling and operations.

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