Belgian Online Gambling Operators and Affiliates Face Impossibly Restrictive Laws

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
It was gloomy news that met online gambling operators and affiliates that do business in Belgium’s market this week.
It seems that the European country’s legislators are set on going ahead with the approval of restrictive new laws that would practically sound the death knell for many affiliates.

Last year, lawmakers in Belgium approved plans to impose the new curbs on igambling operators and affiliates.
They waited the required three months as dictated by the European Commission, and are now ready to roar with the new rules.
Within eight months of the decree being published in the Belgian Official Gazette, the new legislation will come into force.

So what changes are online gambling operators and affiliates expected to see in Belgium this year?

1. “Personalized Advertising”

Any online casino operators will be severely limited in how they will be allowed to promote their wares.
Promotion will essentially be limited to the operator’s own websites or through what the legislators term “personalized advertising”
(ie. sending emails or SMS promotions to existing customers on the operator’s mailing list).

This is especially bad news for affiliates that work in the Belgium gambling sector.

2. Limited Sports Betting Advertising

Operators that hold gaming and/or betting licenses will be restricted from advertising during any live sports broadcasts, no matter what the media platform.
No sports betting or gaming advertising within 15 minutes before or after programs aimed at minor viewers.
No online sports betting advertising allowed before 10 pm unless a non-live sports program is aired.
Only one online sporting betting ad per ad break before 10 pm for non-live sports programs.

3. Gambling Amount Caps
  • Operators are not allowed to offer bonuses valued at more than EUR 275 per month.
  • Players can top up their online gambling accounts by up to EUR 500 each week across all remote gambling activity.
  • Online gambling account top ups cannot be made using a credit card.
  • Players who increase their gaming limits need to wait three days before the funds can be accessed.
  • Operators need to inform the Belgian Gaming Commission if a player wants to increase his or her betting limit
    and the green light will only be given after the Commission checks with the National Bank that the player’s name is cleared on a credit register.

Lottery Head Blasts Gambling Regulator

It hasn’t helped things that the head of Belgium’s National Lottery has blasted the Commission for not doing its job as regulator and claiming that the country is “the Wild West of online gambling.”

In an interview to the daily Knack newspaper, Jannie Haek pointed out that the neighboring countries have heavily regulated online betting sites that are accessible to Belgian players.

“Obviously Belgian gamblers are not going to visit prohibited sites,” he said mockingly. “Why on earth should they? Everything which is prohibited elsewhere is legal here.”

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