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Belgian Gaming Commission Raises Legal Gambling Age to 21 from September

Belgium Gaming Commission Kansspelcommissie, the Belgium Gaming Commission has announced modifications of the Gambling Act of 7/05/1999, already published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The amendments pertain to “games of chance, betting, gaming establishments, and the protection of players” and will come into effect as of September 1, 2024. As the commission underlined, the modifications aim to promote responsible gambling practices and enhance the existing player protections.

The increase of the legal gambling age from 18 to 21 is currently an important matter of discussion, among other regulatory changes set to reshape the gambling landscape in the country. The newly introduced minimum age requirement for all forms of gambling, including arcades, bingo, and sports betting, will correspond to the one already operative for land-based gaming establishments. The measure would secure uniformity across all gambling platforms.

Consequently, customers who are below the legal gambling age must receive refunds. The same holds true for wagers placed with no age verification measures in place.

Another regulatory limitation involves prohibiting certain devices, as explained in section “3.3” of the Act, or more specifically, bingo and reduced-stakes gaming devices found in Class III gambling venues.

In addition, gaming operators will be limited to holding just one gaming license per website. Gambling businesses will be allowed to offer just one type of gambling, for example, casino games or sports betting.

Customary promotions used to incentivize players, such as welcome bonuses, gifts, and free games will no longer be accessible to Belgian players. The prohibitive measure on bonuses aims to inhibit compulsive gambling behavior.

Last but not least, the Belgian Regulator reminded of the ban on gambling advertisements across multiple platforms and media outlets, which came into force on July 1, 2023. In an attempt to clamp down on gambling disorders and gambling-related debt, the Belgian government introduced further limitations. As of January 1, 2025, a prohibition on gambling advertisements in stadiums will become effective and as of January 1, 2028, sponsorships by gambling companies will no longer be possible.

BAGO Says the Modifications Would Harm the Gambling Industry

BAGO The changes have become the focus of concern of various industry stakeholders. The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) has expressed disapproval of the regulatory amendments, set to take effect from September 1, 2024. According to BAGO, Belgian players would be prompted to turn to illegal gambling operators.

While BAGO has admitted the relevance of particular limitations on gambling advertising, the organization has voiced its concerns regarding the potential impact of a total advertising ban. Tom De Clercq, Chair of BAGO, commented that the association has always “warned that a total ban on advertising in places where illegal operators are massively present, especially online, will have serious side effects.”

Furthermore, by limiting the operators’ gaming licenses to just one type, they would have no overview of players’ gambling behavior and spending habits and would fail to intervene when necessary.

Last but not least, BAGO shared its disapproval of the increase in the minimum gambling age for all forms of gambling, stating it would be unfair to leave the minimum age for the national lottery at 18.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.