Should sports betting ads be banned?

To combat the phenomenon of addiction, the Minister of Justice, Vincent van Quekenborn, wants to “severely” restrict advertising of gambling.

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On Monday, Vincent van Quekenborn introduced a draft royal decree aimed at severely stifling advertising for games of chance. If the Justice Minister’s project is to succeed, many forms of advertising will have to fall by the wayside. No more TV, radio or movie ads, no more ads on websites and social networks; In newspapers in public places. Also finished off personalized ads.

Advertising will still be allowed on the sites and social networks of game operators, or on web pages if the user enters terms related to games of chance via his search engine. The principle is that only people who like to gamble and are actively looking for information about games of chance will encounter such advertisements in the future.

Even the minister wants to go further, by simply canceling sports sponsorship by gaming operators, from 1Verse January 2025. “Today we see 100,000 gamers experiencing gaming disorder, a third of whom are certified. So this is a real problem”Defend Vincent van Quekenborn in front of the RTL microphone. For him, the concern is that ads”Normalization and belittling“The act of playing.

The death of professional football?

With the support of all other parties with a federal majority, the liberal partner of the French-speaking side rejected the project of the Minister of Justice.

“The master is completely against the projectGeorge-Louis Bouches, president of MR, responded on Twitter. This measure is excessive and will lead to significant financial difficulties for the sports sector among others. Do we really want the death of football in this country?

Same story by Lauren Barris, chief executive of the Professional Football League, whose professional clubs risk seeing themselves cut off from 12% of their sponsorship income if the project is implemented. On the part of Christ, we condemn the “double weight, two actions”, because the ban on advertising will not apply to the national lottery.

A measure counterproductive?

But Vincent van Quekenborn does not budge: “If we do not stop this propaganda, we risk a tsunami of addicts.”. For many experts, games of chance and sports betting can indeed be addictive. “There is a lot of epidemiological research, on a psychological level, on a social level, which shows that there is indeed a problem at the level of addiction to sports betting.It was confirmed in Le Soir researcher Damien Prevers. “Gambling, which includes sports betting, can lead players to serious abuse.”Added Jean-Yves Hayes, UCLouvain Professor Emeritus who specializes in the science of addiction.

And in some cases, advertisements can reach places where they are harmful. According to Addiction France, sports betting advertisements, for example, convey a truncated image of betting and can contribute to the increased addiction of people at risk to gambling.

It remains to be seen if the outright ban will not miss its target. More recently, the Gambling Commission has suggested restricting advertising rather than banning it and targeting more vulnerable audiences, such as problem gamblers or young adults.

For their part, the organizers of games of chance, however, describe the ban on advertising as a “wrong good idea”, which, in their opinion, would be counterproductive and would have the effect of promptly pushing players to illegal betting sites. …

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