Jannie Haek, CEO of the Belgian National Lottery, insists his company should not be affected by plans to ban gambling advertising in the country by the end of 2024.
As reported by Brussels Times, nearly all forms of gambling advertising will be banned as Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne included the bill in a draft Royal Decree last weekend.
“Gambling is the new smoking,” said Van Quickenborne.“The gambling industry is making more and more profit in our country, all ‘thanks to’ people with a gambling addiction.
“Gambling advertising is fired at us from all sides every day and encourages these addictions, including among young people. More than 100,000 gamblers show problematic gambling behaviour and a third of them already have serious addictions.”
More than 100,000 active gamblers in Belgium have been diagnosed with a gambling disorder, and a third of them have a severe addiction according to a report by the Flemish expertise centre of Alcohol and Other Drugs. Research shows that together, those groups finance up to 40% of gambling companies’ turnover.
However, Haek believes the National Lottery should be granted an exemption.
“We are not a gambling company,” Haek told Radio 1, as reported by Nieuwsblad.
“There is no problem with lotteries, they have been around for hundreds of years. Until about six years ago there was no problem with gambling addictions, until the gambling market was liberalised.
“Sports betting is much more dangerous than a lottery. I, therefore, think it is quite normal that advertising is more strictly regulated and, if necessary, banned.”