Belgium in Brief: The new smoking

Belgium in Brief: The new smoking
Credit: Belga/Pexels

By the end of this year, Belgium's Federal Government wants to ban as good as all gambling advertisements in the public space.

Gambling companies or platforms will no longer be allowed to advertise on television, radio, social media, posters on the street, in newspapers, or via personalised (e)mail and text messages.

For Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, "gambling is the new smoking."

'Thanks to' people with a gambling addiction, the gambling industry is making more and more profit in Belgium each year; more than 100,000 gamblers already show problematic gambling behaviour, while around 33,000 of them have serious addictions.

"Gambling advertising is fired at us from all sides every day and encourages these addictions, including among young people," he said. This has only increased during the coronavirus pandemic. (Do you remember seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme bursting through some poor guy's door to talk about his gambling?)

Meanwhile, a total of more than €2 billion was spent on gambling in 2019, and 64% of the adult population has tried gambling at least once a year.

About 40% of online gamblers are younger than 26, and nearly 70% are under the age of 39. According to Van Quickenborne, the increased popularity is the result of “the multitude of advertising reaching the population through various channels."

While Van Quickenborne regretted that for many, “the damage is already done, often with enormous financial, spiritual and social consequences,” he wants to severely restrict gambling advertising in future.

What do you think, is gambling the new smoking? And what will Jean-Claude Van Damme do now? Let @Maajtee know.

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