Vooruit wants to abolish the Gaming Commission: this is the anti-gambling plan of the socialists

Vooruit wants to abolish the Gaming Commission: this is the anti-gambling plan of the socialists
Vooruit wants to abolish the Gaming Commission: this is the anti-gambling plan of the socialists

At the beginning of this year, a principle ban on gambling advertising was introduced in the federal parliament. The age limit for gambling was also raised to 21 years. But these interventions are far from sufficient to reduce problematic gambling, according to Vooruit. There is still an oversupply, and the existing protection measures are far too lax. For example, anyone who puts themselves on the blacklist – so that they are automatically refused gambling – can still gamble on machines in cafes.

“While the large gambling companies move their enormous profits to tax havens, the small gambler is left behind with misery: an addiction, gambling debts and disturbed relationships with friends and family,” says Vooruit chairman Melissa Depraetere.

According to the socialists, there is only one thing to do: provide far fewer gambling opportunities. For example, cities and municipalities must be able to decide for themselves whether to restrict or even ban betting shops on their territory. And far fewer permits need to be issued.

The most drastic proposal is to ban live betting altogether. It is a form of gambling in which players can bet money on specific events during a sports match: when will the next yellow card be drawn, when will the next goal be scored?

“Live betting is particularly addictive,” Vooruit writes in its anti-gambling plan. “The ability to continually place bets during an event makes it difficult for gamblers to control their impulses.”

Betting in newsagents should also disappear completely for the socialists. “Risky games of chance simply don’t belong in the newsagents,” he said. In addition, a proliferation of bogus newspaper shops has emerged, shops where hardly a newspaper or magazine is sold and which mainly exist as an accessible alternative to gambling. Many people simply find it easier to enter a newsagent than a betting office.

The socialists also have the government in their sights. Starting with the National Lottery. The real lottery games do not pose a problem for Vooruit, but “is it up to the Belgian state to get involved in sports betting?” For the party, these bets must immediately disappear from the offer.

However, the biggest criticism is for the Gaming Commission. It was founded in 1999 as a regulator of the gambling sector in our country, with the main task of protecting players against problematic gambling behavior. But for many years now, the Gaming Commission (KSC) has been criticized for allowing itself to be pushed into the gambling sector by, for example, opposing stricter legislation. The socialists also say plainly that “the management of the Gaming Commission is too involved with the gambling companies”.

Vooruit therefore advocates abolishing the Gaming Commission completely and replacing it with a new advisory council under the authority of the Minister of Health and the Minister of Economy. There should be better representation of care providers who work with gambling addicts in that advisory council.

The question is how feasible those proposals are. It took years to get an in-principle ban on gambling advertising approved in parliament. MR chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez steered his party firmly into the resistance. According to him, professional football in our country would suffer a needlessly heavy loss of income if teams can no longer be sponsored by a gambling company.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Vooruit abolish Gaming Commission antigambling plan socialists


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