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The Gaming Act in Belgium limits the number of land-based casinos to nine. Revenues are only available for seven out of the nine casinos and amount to €94m for 2017, including tips.

In 2017, in seven of the nine Belgian casinos, gamblers paid 1.15m visits. For 2016, a total of 1.35m visits were registered for all nine Belgian casinos.

No new casinos have opened. In 2016, the latest figures available, the sector counted 809 staff.

Under Belgium’s gaming law, only businesses with land-based gaming operations have the right to extend their offerings online

Belgium is home to 171 (December 2018) gaming arcades and more than 9,000 active Licence C classified drinking establishments.

In 2016 the country passed controversial legislation that requires all online betting and casino operators to pay 21 percent VAT. This was annulled in March 2018 by the Constitutional Court, as it considered it to be in violation of the constutional law.

New anti-money laundering requirements were brought into force in October 2017. Operators must carry out due diligence measures when players wager stakes or collect winnings of €2,000 or more. The register of beneficial owners will also be introduced.

After the ban on virtual betting products in June 2016, a Royal Decree was approved in January 2018 regulating virtual betting and came into force on May 9. Virtual betting will be considered as automatic games of chance which only betting shops can offer and the minimum age to play is 21.

In November 2017, the Constitutional Court annulled key portions of the Gaming Act that allow different forms of gambling to be offered via the same web address. Due to the absence of a legislative solution, the Belgian Gaming Commission formulated an additional condition for the online licenses (A+, B+, F+) in June 2018: when different online licenses are combined on the same website, the player must give explicit permission when changing between licenses (e.g. when changing from casino games to sports betting) and the EPIS check needs to be done again. 

On 25th October 2018 a Royal Decree was published for online gaming & betting, which will take effect in the summer of 2019. This decree not only establishes rules for advertising but stipulates a number of other measures as well.

The main points regarding advertising for online gaming & betting are:

  • No advertising during live coverage of sports games
  • No advertising for online betting before 8pm with the exception of sports programs (only one add for online betting per advertisement block)
  • No advertising during 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after programs intended for children or minors 

Other player limitations are:

  • Player limits to be established: player can deposit a maximum of € 500 per week on his/her online account. Requests for limit increases are to be made to the Belgian Gaming Commission. Limit decreases to take effect immediately.
  • Player cannot use a credit card to upload the player account.
  • The maximum of bonuses offered to a player is limited to € 275 per month. 

ECA MEMBERS

ECA MEMBERS :   Casinos Belgium

NUMBER OF CASINOS

2017 9
2016 9
2015 9
2014 9
2013 9

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

2017 809
2016 809
2015 897
2014 957
2013 968

TERRESTRIAL CONSUMER PROTECTION / SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MEASURE

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

THE REGULATED MARKET

NATURE OF THE CASINO MARKET

Terrestrial: Multiple licences (9)

Online: Multiple licences (maximum 9) – only offline casinos (with an A licence) can operate an online casino gaming site.

REGULATED CASINO GAMES

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.

RESPONSIBLE REGULATOR FOR TERRESTRIAL AND ONLINE CASINO GAMES

Belgian Gaming Commission.

THE ILLEGAL MARKET

Market Protection Measures / Tools to Tackle Illegal Gambling:Payment blocking, website blocking and advertising restrictions for unlicensed operators are all available sanctions.

IN THE CASINO

NUMBER OF CASINO VISITS (in 000s)

2017 1152
2016 1346
2015 1362
2014 1350
2013 1387

REVENUES (GGR & Tips EUR Million)

2017 94 million
2016 114 million
2015 114 million
2014 112 million
2013 114 million

HIGH-LEVEL MARKET DATA

Currency : Euro

Population: 11,285,720
(Source:The World Bank)

GNI (2014, Local Currency, Millions): 3,96,229
(Source: Eurostat)

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)

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Last Updated: May 2019