A few days ago the Belgian Constitutional Court repealed the obsolete gambling law from 1999. The new gaming law, which was passed in April 2019 and is much more liberal in many respects, now applies. But what impact does the gambling reform have on online casinos in Belgium?
Up until now, Belgium had a gambling law that was over 20 years old and entered into force in 1999. The problem: The outdated law could not do justice to the far-reaching changes in the gaming industry. Because the online gambling boom only began after the law had already been drawn up and passed. The Belgian Constitutional Court has now repealed this obsolete law with immediate effect.
Domestic and foreign companies can apply for a gaming license
In Belgium, all gambling companies that are domiciled in Switzerland or abroad can apply for a license. This means that you do not have to have a place of business in Belgium to be able to offer virtual slot machines or sports betting here.
There are currently nine established casinos in Belgium with an online gambling license. There are also 41 online casinos and 26 online betting providers. In addition, there is also a so-called black list in Belgium, which currently lists 270 gaming providers. These include well-known industry giants such as Interwetten and Betfair.
Online gambling industry should become clearer
The new gaming law in Belgium is primarily aimed at making the online gaming market clearer. For this purpose, the individual game categories should be clearly delimited from one another. In practice, this means that, for example, Online Casinos, slots, poker and sports betting may no longer be offered in parallel on one platform. It is now desirable that each type of game has its own platform, although direct links to one another are also not permitted.
The administrative court in Belgium takes the position that the consistent separation of the types of game with a view to combating gambling addiction could act as a kind of brake. If a player is specifically looking for sports betting, then in future he will only be shown one platform on which only betting options are available. So he would not be distracted by virtual slot machines that are also available. However, this assumption is controversial among experts.
Roulette, Baccarat & Co. only in licensed casinos
Another change in the gaming law is that from now on, banker games are taboo for most online casinos. More precisely, table and card games such as roulette, baccarat or blackjack can only be offered on the Internet by licensed casinos. These are providers who also have land-based arcades.
The Belgian Constitutional Court overturned the obsolete Gambling Act from 1999 with immediate effect. The new Gambling Act, which was passed in April 2019, but has not yet been relevant in practice, applies with immediate effect. As a result, providers are now only allowed to offer one type of game on their platform and – provided they do not operate an established gaming facility – are no longer allowed to offer banker games such as roulette or blackjack. It will be interesting to see how the new gambling law in Belgium will be accepted by the population.