Online gambling is a market that has known an exceptionally growth in the past few years. It comes as no surprise that some countries are working on new rules for online casinos. Belgium is one of those countries that implements stricter gambling laws for online gambling operators. The legislators have now invented a plan that includes an almost complete ban on gambling advertisements. They also want to forbid digital affiliate marketing activities.
The ‘Wild West’ of gambling in Belgium?
Belgian lotteries are very popular. Last year, The Belgium National Lottery made 5.3b sales in euros, which is an increase of 8 percent in comparison to 2016. Digital sales also increased by one third. However, Belgium has once been called ‘the wild west of online gambling’. The Belgium National Lottery has criticized the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) a lot for being not strict enough for online gambling operators. According to the CEO of the Belgium National Lottery, they gave the operators too much a free hand. Hopefully the new rules will change this
New gambling law in Belgium
The European Commission always has a standstill period of three months before a law can become reality. It’s nearly time for the new gambling law to come into effect. Online casinos don’t have to quit their advertisements immediately. It will take another 8 months before the new rules really apply. First, the government will publish the new decree in the Belgian Official Gazette. After this moment casino operators are not allowed to promote their websites or products with advertisements.
Restricted gambling advertisements
Usually gambling advertisements appear online, in e-mail and text messages. Sometimes gambling advertisements are also shown during live sports events, but this will be forbidden in Belgium in 2018. The operators are also not permitted to show online sports betting advertisements before 10 p.m. Only non-live sports programs are the exception to this rule. It’s also forbidden to promote gambling also 15 minutes before and after a children’s programme. It is no longer allowed to use celebrities or athletes to advertise online casinos. Famous persons can influence the public a lot. The Belgian legislators decided to implement these rules because gambling can be very addictive, and celebrities promoting this market can make it worse.
Many online casinos try to attract new players by giving great promotions. Think about 100 percent bonuses or free spins, for example. However, according to the new Belgian law the maximum bonus to one player must be 275 euros every month. This is for al casino games like slots and live casino games. Perhaps you’re a player that makes several deposits every week. From this year on, the maximum amount of money that can be added to your online account every week is 500 euros. You cannot make this top-up with your credit card by the way.
Consequences for players
The new gaming limit has a lot of consequences for players. It means that you have to wait a few days before an increase is possible. The Belgian Gaming Commission controls the gaming limits that a gambling operator uses. The operators have to inform the commission if a player wants to increase his or her gaming limits. The BGC will then check if the players name is in the so-called credit default register. If this is the case, the player cannot get an increase. A person is listed in the credit default register if he or she has failed to pay a bill or debt.