Gambling Laws in Belgium

Gambling Laws in Belgium

Belgium, which has been a centre of culture and commerce from Middle Ages, has an equally impressive gambling heritage. Lotteries and card games have existed in Belgium right from 1300s. And this has been practiced even now, but in a much more regulated way. Currently in Belgium, there are 9 casinos, 34 land based sports books and 180 gaming arcades where one can legally gamble. All these brick and mortar establishments are regulated by the Gaming commission. Also the license issuing and enforcement for gambling over the internet is looked after by this agency.

Legislative framework for gambling

The most important frameworks in the gambling laws of Belgium include:

  • The Federal Act of 7th May 1999 (Gaming Act) - This framework covers games of wagers, chance and provides protection to the players.

  • The Federal Act of 31st December 1851 (Lotteries Act) - This framework covers lotteries

  • The Federal Act of 19th April 2002 (National Lottery Act) – This framework rationalizes the management and the functioning of the lottery nationwide.

Online games got regulated from the year 2010, where a strict licensing regime was adopted for chance games and bets. The gaming act covers those games where winning is based on a chance and that the player can lose or gain money not only to/ from the organizers, but also to/ from other players. Since sports or card, board and parlour games involve skill; these games are not covered under the act. According to the Lotteries Act & the National Lotteries Act, any transaction where a gain happens due to a chance and that it is available for the public, such transaction can be termed as a lottery! As such, the gaming act does not have a separate concept for the online games. This act itself recognizes a game of chance taking place via an instrument of the information society.

Gambling Regulations

The gambling market of Belgium is highly regulated by the Gaming commission of Belgium. This commission handles the issuing and enforcement of regulations and allows only a limited number of companies to set shop. Besides, even after the companies are allowed to set a shop, they are thoroughly screened, with many aspects of their operations being closely monitored!

As far as foreign-based internet gambling sites are concerned, they are not allowed to operate in Belgium. Also, the Belgian punters are not allowed to place bets with any foreign unlicensed operators and those sites that accept bets from the Belgians face a strict penalty, with their names being blacklisted.

And despite these tight regulations, the varieties of choices for the Belgians are immense. In order for a Belgian resident to place a bet, he/ she need to be at least 21 years old. And this age limit is applicable for both, offline and online betting establishments. In fact, when it comes to the online websites, this information is dealt with, all the more seriously. If there is any mistake in the age and identity of the player and that comes under scrutiny, the wagering websites can lose their licenses.

Taxation on the Gambling winnings

When it comes to taxation on the winnings made via gambling, Belgians do not have to pay any tax. However, gambling companies pay taxes along with paying the annual licensing fees.

Payment methods for Gambling

As far as payment methods for gambling is concerned, this market, due to its high number of regulations and its legality accepts all the forms of payment, right from Euro to major debit and credit cards. The casinos and online channels also accept money in the form of e-wallets or bank wire transfers. With the advent of technology, even bitcoins are gaining acceptance.

The following laws as mentioned above are the gambling laws present in the state of Belgium.