Kindred Group has warned Belgian politicians that new rules restricting gambling advertising risk pushing punters towards unregulated operators.
The legislation, which was given Royal Decree last week, effectively bans affiliate marketing in relation to gambling in the country.
The rules, which are set to be implemented from June 2019, prohibit online casino providers from advertising, while online sportsbooks may only advertise after 8pm on television and cannot appear during live sports events.
Dennis Mariën, country manager at Kindred Belgium, told iGamingBusiness.com he is concerned that the changes could have a negative effect on a successfully regulated market, with around 80% of customers having been channelled towards unlicensed operators.
“Enforcing a set of rules that might be too strict for regulated operators to keep a competitive offering vs the non-regulated ones is a possible danger towards the customers as the non-regulated operators are in no way obliged to offer similar levels of security towards their customers,” Mariën said.
“Moreover, problem gamblers will most likely drop off the radar and therefore will not be able to seek help or assistance as by playing with a non-regulated operator.”
Mariën added that it is “imperative” that the authorities keep a close eye on the consequences of the new decrees and particularly in terms of the channelling of customers towards the regulated offering.