March 11, 2023 - 10:41 am

The mayor of Antwerp wants to create a dedicated gambling zone in the city.

Until recently, the city of Antwerp had 120 kiosks equipped with gaming machines. Checks showed that these were gambling offices and not newsagents. Mayor Bart De Wever wants to debate the city's existing gaming office with coalition partners.

To compensate newsagents for lost revenue due to declining newspaper sales, business managers have been allowed to offer bets since 2010. Five years ago, when restrictions were imposed on full-fledged gaming offices, there were no more than 600 in our country, with the result that more and more newspaper offices are becoming real gaming offices. One in five newsagents gambled more than €250,000 a year. Newspapers sold in these shops were in some cases a week old.

35 traditional bookmakers in Antwerp

In Antwerp, the situation with these fake newspapers is threatening to get out of hand. About 120 kiosks have federal gaming licences. In addition, there are some 35 traditional bookmakers in Antwerp, which must also be licensed by the federal government. This only happens if the bookmaker signs a contract with the municipality. Such a contract depends on a number of criteria. For example, a betting office should not be near a school or where young people congregate.

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