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Belgian Officials Call for More Gambling Restrictions
- June 18, 2014 By Oliver Young -
It is reported that the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has sent an open letter to the new government of the country requesting more gambling restrictions. BGC believes that the already strictly regulated gambling industry in Belgium should be further tighten up because it causes distress among a few government leaders.
“According to the letter, the Belgian Gaming Commission says that gambling cannot be viewed “as a normal economic activity“and it criticizes some points of the current gambling policy of the government.”
Points of Concern
One point of concern according to the BGC is the lack of good ID controls for players. This is against the current legal law which states that all people involved in a collective debt procedure cannot play online casino games and register at online casinos. Therefore, it asks for improved control of the identities of online players provided on the basis of the national registration number of players.
Another point of concern is minors gambling online. Therefore, the commission brings up the issue of social online gambling. It appears that the Belgian government is not willing to tackle the problem of social gaming on the Internet nor it is willing to pay attention to this subject even through there is a draft legislation related to this issue that has already been presented by the BGC.
Thirdly, the BGC requests further restrictions on the gambling industry in Belgium. Currently the Belgian legislation offers a limited choice of games of chance to Belgian players, but BGC believes that the government officials are more interested in the revenue that comes from the gambling activities than effectively limiting the legal gambling products and services offered in the country. This is why the Belgian Gaming Commission wants more active prosecution of the Belgian players that are gambling everywhere and seem to be out of line with the current gambling measures. Belgium already has a black list of online gambling operators that don’t comply with its gambling law.
Online Gambling in Belgium
The tight control over land based gambling operators in Belgium applies to online gambling as well. Generally speaking, gambling of all kinds is legal in the state since 2002 but it is tightly controlled. According to the Gambling Act of 2009, Belgium doesn’t allow foreign online gambling operators to offers gambling products and services to Belgian residents.
If an operator wants to practice online gambling in the state it must first get a land based license. Because the number of land based licenses is not allowed to increase, there is, therefore, a cap on the number of online gambling licenses that can be issued and these include 9 online casinos, 180 arcades and 34 sports betting sites. Furthermore, there mustn’t be a diverging selection of games offline and on the Internet.
Even though the criteria for obtaining a license are not easy to meet there are many operators that wish to get one. The sites that are unlicensed are put on a black list by the regulator and the operator may face criminal liability.