Belgium’s new gambling policy: higher legal age, stricter ads

Belgium’s new gambling policy: higher legal age, stricter ads

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Belgium’s new gambling policy: higher legal age, stricter ads

Belgium’s new gambling regulations include the rise of minimum gambling age to 21, stricter ad rules, and more changes to the 1999 Gambling Act.

The legal age policy will go into effect this year, according to confirmation from the Belgian gaming regulator.

The proposed raise in the minimum age to gamble is confirmed to be implemented, verified by the Belgian gambling authority. Starting on the first of September, Belgium’s legal betting age will increase from eighteen to twenty-one.
Belgium has already imposed an age limit of twenty-one for arcades and gambling establishments on land, but this will now extend to all types of gaming. As of right now, the only EU nation requiring a minimum age of twenty-one to participate in physical and internet betting is Greece.

Under a law that went into effect in July of last year, betting advertisements were already prohibited in Belgium. As of September, regulated operators will also not be permitted to advertise online gambling on websites that provide sports betting, bingo, or poker, nor will they be permitted to give away free wagers or bonuses as rewards. On the first of January 2025 a ban on betting-related advertisements at football stadiums is scheduled to take effect.

The measure is a part of many changes to Belgium’s 1999 Gambling Act proposed by Stefaan Van Hecke, a minister for the Green Party, and approved by the House of Representatives in January. Other changes include new rules for advertising and a ban on slot machines in pubs and clubs.

The proposed regulations are opposed by the BAGO. Chair Tom De Clercq claims that BAGO has continuously pushed for limitations on advertising, even within conventional media. They have, however, also issued a warning against a total prohibition on advertisements in regions where illicit operators are common, especially online, citing possible detrimental effects. De Clercq observed that politicians appear to prioritize populist strategies over the alternatives put out by BAGO.

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