Revenues at Belgium’s nine land-based casinos have remained largely unchanged during the past two years, holding at a steady €114m each year, including tips, while the industry has seen no properties opened or closed.
Gamblers paid fractionally fewer visits to Belgium’s casinos in 2016, a total of 1.35m visits compared with 1.39m in 2013.
Although no new casinos have opened, the sector now counts 809 staff, as full time employees, a 16.4 percent decrease from the 968 workers employed in 2013.
Under Belgium’s gambling laws, only businesses with land-based gambling operations have the right to extend their offerings online, a restriction which prompted European Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against the country in 2013 as part of Internal Market tsar Michel Barnier’s online gambling action plan.
In 2016 the country passed controversial legislation that requires all online betting and casino operators to pay 21 percent VAT.
The Belgian Gaming Commission, which regulates gambling across the country, and was created as a result of the 1999 Gaming Act, banned virtual betting products in June 2016. It also instigated a crackdown on more than 5000 illegal low stakes gaming machines in pubs and bars during the summer of 2016.
A player can ask for self-exclusion through the Belgian Gaming Commission. The player is then registered in Belgium’s EPIS-database (Excluded Persons information System).
Each customer entering a casino or arcade must be checked against the EPIS-database, prior to entering.
EPIS is not just a self-exclusion system. It also includes most of the persons legally excluded such as judicial officers, bailiffs, police officers, etc. (Article 54, para 2 of the Gaming Act).
Self-exclusions and exclusions coming from gaming establishments are both made for an indefinite period
When excluded from a casino, a player can ask the Gaming Commission to be able to re-enter the casino. If the commission agrees to this, a three-month period applies before the player can return to the casino.
Since July 15, 2011, exclusions at the request of a third party have been made possible. Social workers and other interested parties can apply to the Gaming Commission to limit the access of a person believed to be a problem gambler to a casino or slot hall.
The BGC issues leaflets regarding player protection and discusses the issue of player protection with all members of staff during the session staff members have to attend in order to obtain their gaming license. The display of these the player protection leaflets is mandatory for all casinos.
Legal Gambling Age: Access to Class I casino gambling and class II machine gambling is restricted to people of 21 years of age or more while betting shops are open to those who are not minors (at least 18 years of age).<br/><br/>
Age restrictions for online games mirror those that apply to land-based games so all online games are prohibited to players under 21 years old, except for betting which is prohibited to players under 18 years old.
Smoking Ban: Yes, since July 1, 2011, a general ban in the hospitality industry has been implemented. Smoking rooms equipped with smoke extraction systems, subject to further conditions, are permitted. Slotmachines or table games are not allowed in the smoking rooms
Terrestrial: Multiple licences (9)
Online: Multiple licences (maximum 9) – only offline casinos (with an A licence) can operate an online casino gaming site.
Terrestrial:Licence A (Class I) casino games include, but are not limited to, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, punto banco, chemin de fer, poker and slot machine gaming. Live poker games and poker tournaments can only be operated in casinos.
Online:Online casino games, including but not limited to roulette, blackjack, baccarat, punto banco, chemin de fer, poker and slot machine gaming are permitted under Category A+ licences. A lower-stake category of licence is available for gaming arcades (B+ licence).
The online permits lower stake forms of most A+ licensed games.
Market Protection Measures / Tools to Tackle Illegal Gambling:Payment blocking, website blocking and advertising restrictions for unlicensed operators are all available sanctions.
Currency : Euro
(Source:The World Bank)
GNI (2014, Local Currency, Millions): 3,96,229
Internet Penetration (Internet Users): 85%
(Source: The World Bank)
Mobile Penetration (Mobile Cellular Subscriptions): 114%
(Source: The World Bank)
Doing Business Ranking (June 2015):43
(Source: World Bank Group)
Last Updated: August 2017