BGC Report Criticises ‘Omnipresent’ Gambling Ads

Gambling advertising in Belgium is expected to face more restrictions after a new report by the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) criticised the’ omnipresent’ gambling ads during the playoffs of the 2019 Jupiler Pro League.

The study stressed that, due to the sponsorship arrangements of their teams with betting companies, football fans are subjected to betting ads from the moment they buy a match ticket.

The report said: “The analysis of the gambling advertising shown during the football play-offs and the analysis of the betting data show, on the one hand, that gambling advertising is ubiquitous in football events and on the other hand, that an increase in gambling activity can be observed on the playing days of the play-offs.

“The strong relationship between football and gambling, however, can give the public the impression that both matters are inextricably linked, which can furthermore lead to the normalisation of gambling behaviour.”

The report also highlighted that gambling companies funded 14 of the 18 clubs in the Pro League, including all six in the playoff championship, where teams compete for the league title.

“It is necessary to know whether quantitative restrictions on advertising can be implemented. This can range from an advertising ban, a ban on sponsoring sports clubs or product placement, over a point system to a maximum percentage of the public space that can be occupied by such advertising messages,” the report added. “Based on this, the Gaming Commission can elaborate a targeted control and sanction policy.”

“Advertising for licensed games of chance must be considered as part of the government’s channelisation plans. But under no circumstances can the sky be the limit. Gambling advertising must be done within a clearly defined framework.”