Following recent articles in the national press about a letter sent by the National Lottery to the government concerning the increase in the monopoly rent, the National Lottery wishes to be completely transparent as to the content of this letter of October 1, 2021 and publishes the letter in question in full and as is on its website.
The National Lottery wishes above all to point out that the article published in the daily "Het Laatste Nieuws" on Saturday June 11, 2022 does not correctly relate the facts.
The National Lottery was in no way involved in drafting Minister Van Quickenborne's proposal for a royal decree on a ban on gambling advertising. The government has been working for a long time to strengthen advertising measures for gambling and this proposal for a royal decree was therefore not new. The letter sent by the National Lottery to Secretaries of State Mahdi and De Bleeker on October 1, 2021 was and still is completely independent of the Royal Decree.
This letter must however be considered in the light of the constantly growing problem of gambling addiction in our country, a problem that the National Lottery does not deny. On the contrary, it has been warning for several years now that, without strict rules, the liberalization of the market carried out ten years ago and the increasingly aggressive and misleading practices of private operators risk leading to a major social problem of addiction . This unfortunate development is the source of an unfair attack on the reputation of the National Lottery, because it is a historical, transparent and responsible player in the sector which has been entrusted by the State with the mission of channeling players and thus reducing high-risk games to low-risk games.
We would like to reiterate our position that the National Lottery is not part of the problem, but part of the solution. The National Lottery is the only company that can objectively demonstrate what gambling behavior is and where the differences lie between a lottery player and a sports bettor. We would be happy to offer our expertise to find a good balanced solution to a problem that affects all of our society.
Also, when the government asks it to pay a higher counterpart for its monopoly, the National Lottery finds it quite normal to draw the government's attention to the fact that its monopoly has been seriously undermined in recent years. by the arrival of a large number of private gambling operators subject to less strict rules and who have a free hand due to the lack of regulation and enforcement of the rules in the field of casino games and sports betting. And on the fact that they are, moreover, also at the origin of the strong growth of the problem of gambling in our society.
In our letter, we therefore rightly mention that additional measures are necessary in various areas. For example, the separation of the supply of games of chance on gaming sites as indicated by the Constitutional Court, the need to restrict advertising in proportion to the risk of addiction associated with the product being promoted and a better regulation of the easy sale of sports bets in so-called bookstores.
The above-mentioned points have already previously been considered by all actors as necessary measures that can help against gambling addiction and are therefore in no way a requirement.
The National Lottery considers its letter of October 1, 2021 to Secretaries of State Mahdi and De Bleeker as essential to help the various actors to make their next decisions in full knowledge of the facts. The content of this letter was known to the entire Board of Directors and government commissioners of the National Lottery. We can therefore publish this letter in full without any reservations and in full transparency on our website.