Online Gambling in Belgium – Trusted Casinos. Belgium has a very wide range of sports that they have engaged in for a long time. From horse racing in their magnificent hippodromes; to football (soccer) with their current team – the red devils, now being touted as their golden generation; to cycling in the tour de France, and many more. This is coupled with the fact that they are a major member of the EU, with its headquarters being in Brussels which is the capital of Belgium. That same city is also home to the headquarters of the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA). The icing on this cake is that Belgium has a healthy economy. These factors make it easy for a bystander to understand the interest in gaming, and the credence of the Belgium Gaming Commission, and the license it provides to operators.
Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC)
The gaming regulation authority in Belgium belongs to the body known as the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC). The duties of this body are divided into three:
- Its first duty is to provide counsel to the Belgian government and its lawmakers. This counsel is provided to aid them in decisions such as royal decrees and amendments to laws that concern games of chance
- The second duty which is the most important is the issuing of licenses to the operators. And the BGC issues 12 different types of licenses. But those 12 are grouped into 7 broad categories:
Category 1 (A and A+): The A license gives the operator the power to open a brick and mortar casino, while A+ gives him the right to take said casino online.
Category 2 (B and B+): These gambling licenses are for those who want to operate a slot machine arcade. The B license is issued for landbased operations while B+ licenses are for online operations.
Category 3 (C): This license is issued to those operating from bars with a bingo machine.
Category 4 (D): The D license is issued to employees in the gaming business.
Category 5 (E): The E license is for the people that manufacture, fix or install equipment in the gaming industry.
Category 6 (F1, F2, and F+): This category is for sports betting and horse racing events. The F1 and F2 licenses go together. This is because while the F1 enables you to organise the bets for said events, the F2 permits the operator to receive bets at said events. Then the F+ is issued for online activities.
Category 7 (G1 and G2): These licenses are required for gaming on mass media – TV, radio, magazines, e.t.c. G1 is issued for phone-in games whereas all other types are issued the G2 license.
- The third duty of the gaming commission is that it monitors and regulates the activities of gaming operators, punishing all illegality within it’s right.
Belgium is a member of the European Union (EU) and base to its headquarters. Also, it’s the capital city is home to the headquarters of the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA). Also, articles 49 and 56 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on the Freedom of Establishment and the Freedom of Movement respectively, allows for establishments to provide services in every region within the EU. This may be subject to internal law. But it is all these and more that not only give the Belgian Gaming license a wonderful reputation as an EU gaming license but also as a gambling license recognised all over the world.
History of the Belgian Gaming Commission
The Belgium gaming license history is a rich one, following the discovery that the interest in gambling is not a new one amongst the Belgians. Historians have uncovered documents of what they believe to be evidence for games like cards and lotteries dating back to the 14th century, as well as a nationwide lottery in the 15th century! However, modern-day gambling is by far more organized nowadays, especially under the careful eyes of the BGC.
Founded in 1999, the Belgian Gaming Commission confers this level of organization by monitoring gambling licenses, supervising gaming activities, and advising the government on matters of gambling. Since 2002, it has been legal to gamble online in Belgium. However, it became required of online betting companies to be licensed for them to operate legally, under the 2009 Gambling Act. The BGC then took it up a notch once more in 2011 rewriting the Gaming Act to mandatorily require online gambling companies to also have a land-based licensed company in Belgium. And those without a terrestrial betting place could liaise with a company that had one.
Amongst European countries, Belgium is still one of the few countries that permit online gambling to be legal.
Benefits of Gaming at BGC Regulated Casinos
There are several numerous advantages of playing in a casino that has been issued a Belgian Gaming license. From a player protection point of view, not only are players able to intervene for themselves if they’re mature enough to admit they have a gambling problem. A third party is also able to intervene for the person in question, and in both cases, the player will be added to the Excluded Persons Information System (EPIS) and be banned from both live and online casinos. The Excluded Persons Information System requires the full name and date of birth of the player when entering a live or virtual casino. Parents and guardians can also protect their wards using this magnificent system. Other benefits of BGC regulated casinos include;
1. Protection of the Players interest
Because of how strict the laws that the BGC stipulates for its gaming license, along with laws and decrees that it advises the government on being put into place, the punter can feel safe. Especially since these laws are designed so that the gaming companies meet the necessary conditions as stipulated by the BGC that ensure fairness for the gambler. This includes conditions necessary for games of chance such as slot games to be legit as stipulated on the website of the Belgian Gaming Commission.
2. Security for the Players
It is highly important for the player to know that a company with a Belgian Gaming license is legit, and there can be no need to be scared. Not only because playing at an unlicensed gaming company would put said player in the bad books of the authority. But also because any gambling operator or company not licensed by the BGC in its jurisdiction, is very likely to be acting against the interests of the player. The financial interests of the player and the mental health interests are of utmost importance to the Belgian Gaming Commission.
4. Security Measures for Gambling Addiction
In 2004, a security measure for players called the Excluded Persons Information System (EPIS) was put into play. EPIS is an electronic system that has information of people excluded from gambling for whatever reasons. This system is operational on both land-based casinos and virtual casinos, and even in other types of gaming establishments. Amongst these excluded persons are the ones under 21 and such, and the people that may be deemed as battling gambling addiction.
5.Everyone is Accountable
For a gaming company or operator to be functional under the jurisdiction of the Belgian Gaming Commission, not only does the company itself have to be licensed. Even the personnel, the manufacturers of the gaming equipment, the repairers, and the installers, all have to be licensed. This makes it easy for the player to know that he is in safe hands because everyone has been deemed fit to operate in their field and provide top-notch services.
Casinos Regulated by the Belgian Gaming Commission
The Belgian government is well aware of the worth of a Belgium Gambling license to operators. And the dangerous effects it could have if gaming is left unregulated in its territory. It is because of this fact that the legislature, for example, stipulates a closed licensing system, with a fixed number of online gaming licenses that can be offered to operators at any one time. Also, the Belgian Gaming Commission has a blacklist for gaming companies that are not allowed to operate within the country or with their license.
On the website of the BGC, the gaming companies that have been licensed by the commission are displayed under the “the establishments” column. From brick-and-mortar casinos and their online equivalents to horse racing operators to land-based and online betting companies. The blacklist is also provided on the website, and there is a search button at the top right corner that can be used to see info relating to the gaming company being sought after.
As a chief member of the EU and base to the EGBA, a Belgian Gaming license is a very powerful and acknowledged authority. It can not only serve as an EU gaming license but is also acknowledged in several parts of the world.
Viabonus Editorial Team