Belgian Gambling Commission allowed to target players with fines & prison sentences

porridgeIn a drive to target unlicensed igaming operators, the Belgian Gambling Commission (BGC) has updated the country’s Gambling Act, passed in 2011.

New amendments issued to the Gambling Act of 2011, will allow Belgian authorities to prosecute Belgian players wagering on unlicensed igaming operators.  Belgian players who choose to wager on unlicensed igaming operators could face severe fines of up to €150,000, the BGC also carries the authority to punish gamblers with a prison sentence of three years.

The 2011 Belgian Gambling Act required internet operators to partner with a land based operators in order to be sanctioned. Furthermore igaming operators targeting the region would have to apply for a Belgium A+ licence of €250,000, in order to market their services in the region.

The BGC is set to increase its monitoring and policing of operators it deems as non-compliable with Belgian gaming laws. Belgium currently operates an igaming operator blacklist, with numerous established igaming operators listed.  Belgian authorities have used several tactics to restrict unlicensed igaming operations, such as IP Blocking and Belgian payment procession restrictions on operator websites.

On February the BGC confiscated €600,000 of French igaming operator – Betclic funds, the BGC claimed the operator had breached regional igaming laws, by accepting wagers on Belgian sports betting markets.

To date no Belgian citizens have been prosecuted for wagering with unlicensed igaming or sports betting operators.

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