Belgium: Partial repeal of the Gambling Act

Due to the new ruling, the operators of Belgian gaming websites are no longer allowed to offer sports betting and online casinos together on one platform.

Like most European countries, Belgium has its own traditions of online and offline legislation.

The law separating casinos and sports betting was passed in 2018.

At that time, however, it only applied to facilities and betting shops that existed offline. Now the online domains follow.

Reason for the change in law

Online gambling is booming in Belgium like never before. The gambling law had to be adjusted to cope with the situation. Because in the Western European country it is quite common for providers of casino websites from other countries to cavort online. Of course, only if you have acquired a gaming license.

In addition, unlike stationary, real existing providers, online platforms have no limits. You can put all types of gambling on your side and don't have to limit yourself to a few. Accordingly, the players also have no limits. You can jump from casino to casino without having to register again. One click of the mouse is all it takes.

Illegal providers are also not uncommon in Belgium and since they operate online it is much more difficult to track them down. The law is supposed to counteract this.

Previous decisions

There have been attempts in the past to deal with the mass of online gambling. The most important milestones are listed below.

In 2010 and 2011, the Belgian Gambling Act was fundamentally revised and expanded. For the first time, online gambling was included in this law. Since the introduction of these new regulations, the Gaming Commission (GC) has been monitoring real and online casinos more closely.

It was not until 2017 that the Brussels Court of Appeal officially decided that operators may offer various forms of online entertainment in the future. Now this decision has been withdrawn.

The law from 1999 was extensively replaced by new regulations in 2019. One of these regulations addresses the separation of online gambling and online betting.

Votes against

The Council of Ministers challenged the decision of the Constitutional Court to have the law processed in 2018. The demand was even supported by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).

Both argued that it was possible for real casino operators to offer different types of gambling in one place. If online casinos were to limit themselves to one offer, they would be at a disadvantage.

The Council of Ministers of the Belgian government criticized the decision at the time in the strongest possible terms. In his opinion, internet platforms are not the right place for gambling and online betting to come together. These arguments have long been rejected by the competent court.

The main changes

The new law stipulates that from now on online gambling must be offered separately from online betting. There is also a separation between slots and other casino games.

The minor modifications in the law for the area of online platforms will have an impact on providers in the future.

So z. B. a resolution that online games such as blackjack, baccarat and roulette may no longer be offered from every site. In the future, this will only be permitted for online casinos that have a license.

More on this below.

What will change for operators?

For many online casino operators, the implementation of this law will bring about a major change.

In the future, games of chance and sports betting must be offered via separate domains. Linking to and advertising for the partner websites created in this way is not permitted. Popular table games such as blackjack and roulette will in future only be offered by real casinos. But they are also available on the websites of this licensed provider. Poker, on the other hand, can still be offered online.

The new judgment obliges operators to divide their online casino and their betting services. In case of infringement, the withdrawal of lucky license is threatened.

An example of this is the website betway.BE from the group Casinos Austria International (CAI). These offered online bets and luck games despite the change of law continue to. Then she was withdrawn the lucky license license. As another consequence, Betway had to.close his website completely.

What is changing for users?

The combination of sports betting and online casinos has made it easy to players. Everyone could play both types of their hearts on one side. You had comfortable and quick access to any number of online casinos. All games and bets were available on a domain. All the players needed was an ID and a password.

That is about to change fundamentally in Belgium. You need to open different accounts and make separate deposits. With every new provider you have to identify yourself again.

This means a considerable additional effort for users. It is questionable whether this will meet with approval. The government hopes this will make online gambling less attractive to gamblers. It remains to be seen whether this will succeed.

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Joel Moore

I have over 12 years of journalism experience - including reviews of the best casinos. For the past few years. I've been interested in human psychology and behavioral factors. This knowledge now helps to better understand casino players.