The Belgium Gaming Commission is part of the Federal Public Service Justice, headed by the Minister of Justice. Games of chance are prohibited in Belgium but there are several exceptions due to fairly recent changes. In the past, there was an absolute ban, which resulted in a lot of illegal gambling activities being set up within the country. That is why Belgium has chosen a new law to work with permits and to partially legalize gambling. The Belgian Gaming Commission was also established when this law was passed. On 10 January 2010, the law has been amended somewhat. The changes were then fully introduced on 1 January 2011.
The Belgium Gaming Commission grants various types of licenses for the operation of games of chance so that gambling can be managed properly. Now Casinos, slot machine halls, or betting offices can apply for an additional license to also be able to offer games of chance via the internet, making it possible to operate an online casino in Belgium. Currently, the legal age for gambling in Belgium is 21 for all casino games and 18 for sports betting.
The Main Focus of Belgium Gaming Commission
According to the website of the BGC, they have several core issues that are in focus:
- grant permits to:
- casinos (class I)
- slot machine arcades (class II)
- drinking establishments (class III)
- persons employed in class I and II gaming establishments
- and the manufacturers and suppliers of gaming equipment
- take administrative sanctions against those licensees, such as a warning, suspension, or revocation of the license
- to advise the legislative and executive powers on games of chance and player protection
- monitoring compliance with the Act of 7 May 1999 on games of chance, gaming establishments, and the protection of players, and its implementing decrees
Furthermore, the BGC not only monitors whether gambling is being offered legally but is also concerned with the protection of players in general. In fact, this is seen as one of the most important tasks of the committee. Games of chance can lead to gambling addiction and insurmountable loss of money. Therefore, the BGC wants to protect all Belgian players from that fate. On the site of the Belgium Gaming Commission, then, there are various support agencies listed – to which addicted players can go to seek help. It is also possible that certain players are excluded from participation in games of chance, both voluntarily or compulsorily. Moreover, advertising guidelines have been introduced to limit the amount of exposure of online casinos.
Security at Online Casinos Licensed by Belgium Gaming Commission
The security standards of online casinos in Belgium are exceptionally high as only operators with a presence on the land-based market can apply for a license to offer games on the internet. This means that all online casinos are managed by well-established and trustworthy companies. The high barrier of entry also deters foreign operators with dubious reputations to enter the market. As a result, fair games are guaranteed and Belgian residents can play online with peace of mind. Furthermore, the government demands a clear history of the cashflow of every casino and only allows trusted payment service providers. All player data and transactions are protected by SSL encryption when playing online.