The Fifa World Cup is generally viewed by gambling operators as a very good opportunity to sign up new players, who might stick around after the big game and become regular players. That, however, is not the case in Belgium, where officials at the National Lottery are pausing all sports betting-related advertising for the duration of the tournament in an effort to prevent first-time gamblers from becoming problem gamblers.
National Lottery officials made the move in conjunction with Belgian Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem, who oversees the country’s gambling monopoly. In statements regarding the ban, Van Peteghem referenced studies showing that almost half of new player registrations during the World Cup are first-time gamblers, which is something he’d like to avoid.
Van Petegham commented on the ban in a statement reported on by iGaming Business saying, “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.”
Belgium, like many other European countries, has recently been focusing on how to keep the gambling industry in check, while protecting players from their own worst impulses. Gaming regulators recently implemented a €200 ($207 USD) weekly loss limit for players that more than halved the previous €500 ($519 USD) limit that was already in place.