Ladbrokes and PMU deal criticised by Belgian competition watchdog

Belgium Attorney Generals clarify rules on gambling infringements 

Belgium’s Board of Attorney Generals has added new guidelines related to the prosecution of gambling infringements. 

The board, which serves as the key advisory to Belgium’s National Justice System, submitted its guidelines undertaking a review of laws and rules dictated by the Belgian Gaming Act (1999).

As stated by the Attorney Generals: “Gambling can lead to a gambling addiction and compulsive gaming behaviours. To protect players financially and health-wise against the negative consequences of gambling, the legislator has drawn up strict rules.

“The Board of Attorneys General has drawn up guidelines to explain these regulations, to ensure their uniform application, and to clarify the powers of the Gaming Commission and the cooperation with the Public Prosecution Service.”

The Board detailed that Kansspel Commissie, Belgium’s Gambling Authority, has the right to summon federal powers to issue warnings, penalties and to ban businesses be they licensed-or-unlicensed from participating in the market.

However, Kansspel Commissie must cooperate with Belgium’s Federal Prosecutors Office on gambling infringements related to criminal activities.  

As such the Federal Prosecutors Office must be informed by Kansspel Commissie of specific infringements related to “clandestine establishments, businesses continuing to operate after license withdrawal, and unauthorised online gambling and advertising”.

The Board detailed that gambling violations that can be deemed as criminal activities are referenced under Article 543 of Belgium’s Gaming Act, which can be used by stakeholders to proceed with criminal prosecutions.

Belgian gambling endured stringent regulatory adjustments in 2023, as the government adopted the new laws of Royal Decree amending the Gaming Act.

On 1 July, Belgium adopted the new Royal Advertising Decree, which imposed a blanket ban on all forms of betting/gambling advertising across all media platforms.

The Royal Decree in Belgium also raised the minimum age for gambling from 18 to 21 years. This aligns the age limit for sports betting and bingo with the existing age limit for casino visits as all gambling venues must conduct a mandatory verification checks on customers prior to entry.

SBC News Belgium Attorney Generals clarify rules on gambling infringements 

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