Belgian Parliament Considering Strict New Gambling Regulations
The Parliamentary Finance Committee in Belgium is debating a bill that would completely overhaul the county’s gambling laws.
The bill, which was put forward by Green MP Stefaan van Hecke, would see all forms of gambling forbidden for those under 21 and introduce new restrictions on gambling advertising and sponsorship.
The new bill was put forward after a national and international mail company based in Brussels, bpost, sold 175 of its newsagents to the gambling company Golden Palace. The sale drew a large amount of criticism amid concerns that it would “open a backdoor to gambling via its various lottery products.”
According to reports, parties have already agreed on a few legislative changes, including a rule that would prevent gambling in newsagents without an eID and the banning of some slot machines. These slots, known as 3.3 machines, are not subject to any controls, and they are often found in youth centers, shopping centers, and petrol stations. Under the new laws, they would be completely banned.
In addition to the ban on 3.3 machines, there are also plans to introduce stricter identity checks and monetary limits. Van Hecke has said that being able to bet up to €200 is soon to “become a thing of the past.”
The Finance Committee is also taking a careful look at operators who persuade customers to gamble through incentives, and they are considering a law that would ban combining different licenses on a single website. For example, a casino games website would not be allowed to offer sports betting as well.
A number of these measures have been met with strong opposition; however, Van Hecke remains positive, saying, “We have not been able to find an agreement on that within the government. But that is not a step backwards, it is not a relaxation. The situation as it is today is simply frozen.”