Belgian Authority Advises Australia on Ban on Gambling Ads

The Kansspelcommissie (KSC), the gambling regulator in Belgium, has advised Australia on a possible ban on gambling ads. At a meeting in Brussels, Michelle Rowland, Minister of Communications in Australia, gathered information in preparation for a possible change in the law that would significantly reduce gambling ads. The restrictions are put in place to lower gambling-related harm in the country.

Last Friday, the Gaming Commission and Michelle Rowland, Minister of Communications in Australia, met in Brussels. During the meeting that took place in Belgium, the regulator informed Rowland about the introduction of a total ban on gambling ads. The Belgian regulator is widely seen as the gold standard for policies to limit gambling-related harm.

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Belgium For Benchmarking

The bill to ban gambling ads in Belgium was approved in March last 2023, after the King signed the Royal Decree and the ban was published in the Official Gazette. As a result, from July 1, 2023, gambling companies are prohibited from advertising in Belgium. An exception was made for sports sponsorships, with the ban coming into effect on January 1, 2028 as a result of already signed deals between gambling companies and professional sports teams.

In June last year, the Gaming Commission had a meeting with Richard Windeyer, deputy secretary of Rowland’s department. Windeyer helps the Minister of Communications in preparing legislative changes that should ensure a reduction in gambling ads and gambling-related damage. Rowland also requested a meeting with the Belgian regulator, which took place on 23 February 2024. Coincidentally, this happened a day after Mike Sneesby, director of Australia’s largest media company Nine Entertainment, made a public prediction that this government isn’t expected to introduce a total ban on gambling ads.

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Meeting With UKGC

Rowland also met with representatives of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which is caught in the middle of a gambling law reform in the UK. Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew announced that affordability checks will be introduced and there will be a betting limit for online pokies. A spokesperson for the minister has shared the following about the visits:

β€œThe Australian Government is committed to minimising the harm from online betting. Minister Rowland is grateful to the United Kingdom and Belgian regulators for their insights into the harms of online betting and how their jurisdictions are addressing these challenges.”

Spokesperson for Minister Michelle Rowland

Australia is also expected to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling related transactions. This long-awaited bill was passed to protect vulnerable players from gambling-related harm. There is already a ban on credit card transactions to and from gambling sites in the UK.

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