THE NATIONAL LOTTERY CONSOLIDATES PRACTICES THAT MAKE IT
The law recently passed on May 5, 2022 to "canalize the desire to gamble in Belgium", according to the declared will of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD), favors the consolidation of a monopoly situation. The National Lottery is in fact a lottery (Lotto, EuroMillions), scratch cards (Win for Life, Subito) and E-games (casino, dice). Since the private sector can no longer advertise, where will all the player traffic naturally go? Inevitably, it is either to illegal gambling sites, or to the National Lottery, which can continue to advertise products for which it has a monopoly or for sports sponsorship activities from which it is not excluded. This is in total contradiction with a policy of channelling players to curb gambling addiction. But, above all, a scandalously irresponsible "paying" strategy, according to Ladbrokes, a private player in gaming and betting, as well as for many observers.
"The gambling industry is a business with a turnover that increases every year (...) The profits of the sector are made on the backs of people suffering from addiction (...) It is therefore appropriate to limit the advertising of gambling and to ban most forms of it (...) The basic principle is that only people who want to gamble and actively seek information about gambling will be confronted with the advertising of these games in the future," argues Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD). Since the beginning of the year, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice has been on a crusade against gambling addiction. But for many observers, by giving the National Lottery preferential treatment, he is paradoxically supporting the development of an undeclared strategy by which he is expanding the market to the advantage of the public sector and to the detriment of the private sector.
Encouraging young people to gamble
Although combating gambling addiction is a public health imperative, in practice the new legislative provisions legalize a "double standard" in favour of the National Lottery. The law of 5 May 2022 amending the law of 19 April 2002 relating to the rationalization of the operation and management of the National Lottery also enriches its development opportunities insofar as the advertising restrictions do not apply to it. The fact of proposing products under the slogan "Become scandalously rich" is a perfect example of this and is in perfect contradiction with the non-incentive to gamble in order to canalize the addiction.