A thorough investigation into alleged links between George-Louis Bouchez and the gambling industry made waves in Belgium’s Dutch-speaking media last March. Bouchez is the leader of Belgium’s Mouvement Reformateur party. However, after reaching Francophone press weeks after publication in Dutch media, the story was punctually taken down.

Last March, Humo, a Dutch-language newspaper, reported that a lot of MPs sitting in Federal Parliament had voiced concerns about Bouchez’s ties to powerful gambling lobbies. Firmer regulations have subjected this to more oversight since 2022. He reortedly guided party policy to significantly favor these lobbies. An example is by securing exemptions on advertising bans for amateur sports clubs. One of them is Les Francs Borains de Bossu. It is a football club wherein he is the president.
Moustique, a French-language magazine published an article stating the same information as Humo. They swiftly removed the content from their online site.
Gilles Vanden Burre, the Écolo party leader said that Bouchez has been an advocate for gambling lobbying objectives and this is not relatively new.
According to him, this has been a topic of discussion in the Federal Parliament for years now. Moustique published a translation of Humo’s important work in the morning and removed it in the afternoon. When contacted for a comment, Moustique did not respond.
Vanden Burre believes that this is a question of governance. He stated that the power that lobbying groups exercise is a major concern for the political decision-making process in a democracy.
Political figures’ testimonies collected by Humo reveal the individual influence of Bouchez on the opposition of MR to gambling industry’s regulation.
Melissa Depraetere is a Vooruit part leader. She said that at one meeting, MR MPs admitted they had nothing to say against their arguments. But they had to call Bouchez again and again to ask for his consent. Then they came back with their tails between their legs as the boss said no.