Published: March 10, 2024

Belgium revamps gambling regulations, raises legal age to 21

Belgium has announced revisions to its gambling regulations, with changes set to take effect on September 1, 2024. The amendments, which aim to enhance player protection and align various aspects of the gambling industry with new standards, include raising the legal gambling age from 18 to 21.

The changes to the Belgium Gambling Act were shared on the Gaming Commission’s website, following their publication in the Belgium Official Gazette. The modification of the legal gambling age will apply to various forms of gambling, including sports betting, arcades, and bingo, bringing them in line with existing age requirements at land-based casinos established in 2018.

The commission emphasized that the new laws encompass several important provisions aimed at bolstering player safeguards and ensuring responsible gambling practices. 

Among the notable changes are the prohibition of certain gambling devices, restrictions on the accumulation of online licenses on the same website, and bans on gifts, bonuses, and free games. Additionally, there will be a ban on advertising games of chance, except under specific circumstances.

Furthermore, the commission underscored the importance of license holders E adapting to the adjustments required for bingo and reduced-stakes gaming devices operated in Class III gaming establishments. These modifications are intended to be implemented promptly to ensure compliance with the updated regulations.

The changes have garnered attention from various stakeholders, including the Belgium Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO). While acknowledging the importance of limiting gambling advertising, BAGO has expressed concerns about the potential consequences of a total advertising ban.

Tom De Clercq, Chair of BAGO, voiced the association's reservations, stating: “BAGO has repeatedly spoken out in favor of limiting advertising, including through traditional media. But we have also always warned that a total ban on advertising in places where illegal operators are massively present, especially online, will have serious side effects."

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