Belgium is one of the most strictly regulated gambling markets in Europe. Online gaming regulations in Belgium are highly restrictive. Belgium has made it mandatory for gaming operators to have a land-based operation in the country.
Any online casino that does not have a land-based operation in Belgium, cannot obtain a license there to serve the Belgian market, and is not permitted to sign up Belgian citizens as players.
If an online casino operator accepted Belgian players despite not having a land-based casino in that country, or signing up a partnership with an existing land-based casino, they could be fined to the tune of €100,000 by the Belgian Gambling Commission.
These are clearly highly restrictive regulations. Let’s find out more about the Belgian Gambling License.
License Types In Belgium
Belgium has only issued land-based casino permits to 9 companies so far. The Belgian Gambling Commission recently announced that they would be adding two more licensing permits. So this is a slow process.
The Belgian Gambling Act was first introduced in January 2011. According to this act, there are 3 types of online gambling licenses in Belgium.
*A+ License, which is for operating an online and land-based casino business.
*B License, which is for operating a gambling arcade.
*F1 License, which is for operating wagering and betting services.
Belgian Gaming Commission
The Belgian Gaming Commission is the final authority that decides all gambling licenses issued in Belgium. They have the power to impose fines on gambling operators or players that are found to be in a breach of the Belgium Gambling Act.
Casino operators that sign up players from Belgium without having the requisite license from this authority can be fined up to €100,000 for the violation. The players are fined to the tune of €25,000.
Obviously, this is highly punitive, but it is the player’s responsibility to make sure that they sign up only for licensed online casinos. They must double check whether the casino has been blacklisted by Belgian authorities before registering with it.
The ultimate objective of the Belgian Gaming Commission is not to punish players from Belgium or to prevent them from enjoying gambling online, but to protect their interests and to prevent them from being targeted by fraudulent gambling operators or scammers.
Another objective is to bring in more money through taxes on the casino revenues into the country. But clearly, protecting the interests of the players is far more important to the Belgian authorities than earning revenue through taxation of the online casinos.
Belgium Gambling License Requirements
Belgium has pretty strict licensing requirements. The Belgian Gambling Act allows land-based casinos to apply for the online casino license should they want to, or to partner with another online casino company from abroad.
However, any online casino that operates in Belgium has to have a land-based operation in the country, whether by itself or through a partnership. Furthermore, it should have its servers located in Belgium and should offer the same online casino games as those provided by its land-based operation.
All applicants for the Belgian Gambling License should pay the Belgian Gaming Commission a €250,000 guarantee fee. Moreover, they should pay an 11% tax on their gross gaming revenues.
Blacklisted Online Casinos in Belgium
In Belgium, there is a list of blacklisted unlicensed casino operators that is made publicly available by the Belgian Gambling Authority. This list can be viewed by one and all. As of today, there are about 100 online gaming sites that blacklisted by the Belgium Gaming Commission. This list is updated almost every week, so this is not a fixed number.
Belgium is one of the few countries that takes the protection of its players so seriously. The Belgian Gambling Commission watches the online casino market very closely and keeps an eye out for scammers or fraudulent operators. They do everything in their power to prevent Belgian citizens from getting victimized by such scammers.