Ladbrokes and PMU deal criticised by Belgian competition watchdog

Belgium €200 loss limit comes into force

After several months in the pipeline, a €200 monthly loss limit has been introduced in Belgium, as authorities look set to move forward with gambling reform. 

A statement from the Belgian Gambling Commission (BGC) last week reminded any relevant industry stakeholders in the country that the affordability limit would commence from Thursday 20 October.

Plans to introduce the loss limit first began in late July, scheduling for implementation on 20 October, reducing the previous limit from €500, although bettors can request that firms increase their limit rate. 

“From now on, online gamblers are subject to a playing limit of €200 per week and per site,” the BGC informed operators. 

“Only persons who are not registered as defaulters with the Central Individual Credit Office of the National Bank can request a lifting of this limit.”

“It is always possible for players to request a lower personal limit from the operators. To keep gambling fun, it is recommended not to spend more than 5% of income on gambling.”

Now that the limit has been established on ‘games of chance’, operators can increase the threshold upon customer request, as mentioned above. 

This can only be done by presenting a ‘player token’ to the BGC – the request will then be processed, and the BGC will contact the National Bank of Belgium before making a decision within three days. 

The introduction of the loss limit after the concussion of the three month legislative waiting period since July’s Royal Decree comes amid heightened political and regulatory attention towards gambling in Belgium. 

In other developments, earlier this month the BGC announced that its ‘EPIS – Excluded Persons Information System’ would be expanded to include betting shop customers.

Perhaps more significantly, legislators have taken aim at advertising, led by Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, who has reportedly proposed his own draft Royal Decree on the matter. 

Van Quickenborne’s proposal would see a ban on most forms of advertising by the end of 2023, and prohibition of any form of marketing or sponsorship in sports by the end of 2024. 

Belgium would later inform the European Commission of its legislative intentions regarding gambling, stating that the ‘Draft Royal Decree laying down detailed rules for advertising gambling’ would introduce more advertising restrictions with an end goal to enhance player protection. 

Meanwhile, back in August, the BGC reduced the number of betting licences available in the country to 30, with the size-down coming into force on 31 July 2022 and ending 31 July 2023.

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