Belgian Licensed Casinos
All online Casinos Licensed by the Belgian Gaming Commission
Introduction to Belgian Gaming Commission
The regulatory framework of the Belgian Gaming Commission is based on several acts. First is the Federal Act of May 1999 which is about wagers, games of chance, and player protection. The second relevant act is the Federal Act of December 1851 which regulates lotteries. The most recent activity is that issued in April 2002. This rationalizes the management and functioning of the National Lottery.
Online operators can license casinos under the Belgian Gaming Commission. To do so they need to abide by the Gaming Act. Belgian Gaming Commission laid down such rules under this act before 2011. The gaming Act was modified in the year 2010 to regulate online betting and games of chance. After that, this law was amended in the year 2019. However, lotteries need to abide by separate laws as set by the Lotteries Act.
Definition of Gambling Under the Belgian Commission
As per the Belgian Gaming Commission, gambling falls under this regulatory framework. The Act defines gambling as players trying games of chance with money stakes. It also defines games of chance as:
- Involves stakes.
- Results in loss or gain.
- Involves a degree of chance in the outcome.
Hence, under the Belgian Gaming Commission, free games are not games of chance by definition. That is because they do not involve any stake. Games of chance will involve wagers that players will risk on them. The amount they risk will not define the outcome of the game. Hence, sports games are not considered games of chance. The same applies to games that are free of charge or parlor, board, and card games of limited stakes. Again, if games are played not in defined class establishments then they do not fall under this law. Hence, games played in fairgrounds, parks, or social gatherings do not apply.
Many casinos online include lotteries and game shows. These fall under the National Lottery Act and Lotteries Act. Lotteries, as per the definition of these acts, are transactions where the public can gain monetarily, by chance. Three elements are key here:
- Gain or loss are by chance only.
- Players need not commit a stake always; that is lotteries can also be free transactions.
- There must be public offerings.
When it comes to online gambling, the act recognizes the digital interface. Hence, online casinos offer games of chance through an instrument of the information society. These instruments are electronic and store or process data via radio, wire, electromagnetic or optical means. The Belgian legislature defines instruments of the information society to ensure that the Gaming Act applies to present and future technologies.
Online Casinos and the Belgian Gaming Commission
The Belgian Gaming Commission allows operators to open online casinos legal in the country, only when they have a retail presence. Hence, many online casino brands partner with existing Belgian casinos. These are usually land-based casinos that are already operational. In this way, foreign gambling sites can have a licensed presence here. They provide Belgians a legal setup to indulge in different kinds of games, and bonus offers. They can also enjoy different and secure payment options.
Gambling Scenario in Belgium
There are stringent laws that regulate gambling in this country, both offline and online. The start of all online casinos is possible only after they tie up with land-based operators. This includes places such as the Casino of Brussels, Casino of Oostende, Casino of Namen, and Casino of Chaudfontaine. The gambling commission issues two kinds of licenses, A+ and B.
There are also limits on the number of licenses available in both categories. Online casinos here comprise many international brands. However, choices for Belgians to legally gamble online are limited, as compared to other EU countries. Since the Belgian government requires online casinos to have a land presence in the country, all the websites have partnered with local land-based casino operators. Only then are they able to run their online casinos legally. However, many foreign sites which accept players from international countries such as Belgium, are popular among Belgian players as well. Though they are not licensed to operate in Belgium, residents of the country can gamble at these sites.
Gambling History in Belgium
If we look at gambling history in Belgium it dates back to the 14th century. At such a time the lottery came into vogue. Besides that, there were few gambling games available. However, there was no innovation in casino games in this country. France on the other hand was known for inventing different casino games. Roulette is a famous invention of this neighboring country of Belgium. The first act on gambling was passed in 1999 in Belgium. It was officially called the Gaming and Betting Act. This laid the foundation for the Belgian Gaming Commission. The act extended lotteries and land casinos only in the initial years. Around 2010 further changes were incorporated. The act added new rules to regulate online gambling.
The Belgian Gaming Commission is set up under the Gaming Act. They are the governmental or regulatory bodies that supervise gambling activities. Their responsibilities are several such as:
● Granting Licenses
The omission grants licenses for certain game categories. The license allows certain games of chance to be run under them.
The Belgian Gaming Commission monitors the compliance of the licensees. This is done as per Gaming Act. It controls licenses that it grants casino owners. However, the number of licenses is usually limited. They are also granted for fixed periods of time.
Different Gambling Products at Belgian Licensed Casinos
The Belgian Gaming Commission does not identify gambling products specifically. However, they fall under different license categories. For each such category, license holders can offer different games of chance. There are in total ten license categories.
The Belgian Gaming Commission defines poker as a game of chance unless it is played for free. There are two kinds of establishments that can offer this game category:
- Casinos under license A defined as class II establishment.
- Gaming arcades under license B which are also class II establishments.
The Belgian Gaming Commission has certain definitions for bets, such as those of fixed-odds or mutual bets. Bets are as per sports events, nonsporting events, and horse races. The law prohibits wagers on activities or events such as:
- Contrary to morality or public order.
- Where the outcome is fixed.
- Where participants are minors.
- When an uncertain act has occurred already.
The Belgian Gaming Commission also prohibits bets in cases where the fairness of the events is not guaranteed, also when specific bets are often susceptible to fraud.
3. Horse Racing
There are different best definitions of horse racing. These include Totatliser betting or mutual bets. It is mainly about horse races that take place in Belgium. Races regulated are those organized by recognized federations or associations. Conditions for Totalisator bets on horse races are set by the King of Belgium. Totalisator betting or mutual bets on horse races abroad can also be covered by Belgian licensed casinos. There should be an agreement between the foreign race organizers and the F1 licensee.
Also, Totalisator betting on horse races abroad is also set by the Belgian King. Usually conventional or fixed odds betting on such races also take place in Belgium. These are usually of different racing associations and are approved by competent federations. The racing associations that organize the races need to provide permission for conventional or fixed odds betting. The conditions are usually approved by the Belgian King.
Casinos that organize bets on horse races require an F1 license. The maximum number of such licenses can be 35. There is a new category called F1P license created for this. Also, F1 licensees need to hold an F2 license for accepting bets. Also, F1 license holders need to have a Class IV category gaming establishment in place. These can be either fixed or permanent or mobile or temporary. There is a royal decree that decides the number of establishments that can be licensed. These include 600 fixed establishments and 60 in the mobile category.
4. Sports Betting
The Belgian Gaming Commission does not have separate requirements for sports bets. As a result, a general licensing regime applies in this category. As a result, many online casinos can combine casino games and sports betting under a single license.
5. Casino Games
The Belgian Gaming Commission allows casinos to offer casino games in class I gaming establishments. Such casino operators need to have a category license. Games of chance that they can offer in such casinos include blackjack, poker, baccarat, craps, different variants of banco and roulette, sic bo, bingo, and others. It also includes automatic games such as reel type, video slots, wheel fortune types, keno type, and interactive poker. Casinos can also organize poker tournaments every year. They need to get the commission’s permission for the same.
6. Slot And Machine Games
Licensed casinos under the Belgian Gaming Commission can offer reel or video slot games. They can also offer wheel of fortune kind of games as per royal decree. Gaming arcades are also provided similar licenses to offer machine games of such kinds. These games can run on player cards. The cards should have hourly loss limits. Five kinds of automatic games are recognized. These are roulette, poker, dice games, horse bets, and blackjack. Those who hold a license B can offer interactive poker with playing cards only.
Offshore Gambling Regulations
The Belgian Gaming Commission has the authority to monitor gambling activities in Belgium. This extends to offshore operators as well. The commission takes a strict approach when it comes to directing the activities of the gambling operators. The powers of the commission are quite broad as well. They can issue warnings to the gambling operators and levy fines. They do not prosecute but note infringements. The charges are then transferred to public prosecutors. Then the illegal operators face criminal prosecution.
The commission has a mechanism in place to ensure Belgian residents do not access illegal gambling sites. The regulatory mechanism involves blacklisting websites operating without a proper license. The commission is tied up with the IT crime unit and with ISPs in Belgium to regulate gambling websites. In case any website operates illegally they inform the IT crime division of the Belgian police. Such sites are then made inaccessible to residents in Belgium. Many remote operators have tried to extend their services to Belgian residents. But the vigilance of the commission prevents such sites from being accessed by Belgian residents.
The commission also takes strict measures when foreign gambling operators advertise in their territory. Only operators who are licensed by the Belgian Gaming Commission are authorized to advertise their services.
● Legal Jurisdiction
The regulatory framework of the Belgian Gaming Commission is built around two sets of gambling policies. One applies to lotteries while the other applies to casino games or games of chance. These are regulated by the Gaming Act which also includes several royal decrees. Of course, there are some royal decrees that are overdue. Also, many are disputed by different operators at the state council level. The commission accordingly makes clarifications or modifications of the policy rules and communicates the same.
Lotteries do not fall under the Gaming Act. When it comes to public lotteries they are under the National Lottery scheme. This organization holds a monopoly on regulating public lotteries. There are specific laws as well as royal decrees that regulate these. Every game under the National Lottery usually falls under the management agreement of the Belgian state. Of course, many non-profit organizations do run charity lotteries that are under older existing laws.
When it comes to games of chance the Belgian Gaming Commission regulates the private gambling enterprises in a different way. This section is under the Ministry of Justice. The commission includes several ministers as well as a secretariat. This runs the daily activities of the commission as well as controls the different gambling operators. The National Lottery is usually supervised by government ministers. There are government commissioners who assess compliance with the National Lottery schemes. They also ensure that they operate as per applicable laws. These are as per the public service laws of the Belgian government.
● Remote Gambling Laws
The Gaming Act has been amended many times, especially for regulating different games of chance. Online gambling was initially restricted to the National Lottery of the state. When the Gaming Act was amended in 2011 it brought in games of chance under its jurisdiction. The Act then allowed such games to be run online. The operators accordingly had to take on licenses to run online activities.
Games of chance are accordingly subject to certain rules. These rules require the operators to have a solvency ratio of 40 percent. they also need to abide by certain technical and security requirements. Also, they need to follow certain limitations in advertising. There are also limits on wagers, online payments, and other matters. The Belgian Gaming Commission issues information notes from time to time regarding online gambling.
● Licensing Process
Those who wish to apply for a gambling license can do so online or via registered mail. As per the royal decree, there are specific forms for different licenses. In order to procure a license, it is necessary to satisfy certain eligibility criteria. The Gaming Commission requires specific and detailed information in many fields. There are a fixed number of licenses that are issued for different categories. For instance, there are 180 B-category licenses issued for gaming halls. Betting operators can avail of F1 licenses that are 31 in total. Those who set up mobile betting need an F2 license while fixed betting requires F2 licenses. Licenses in each category are of a fixed number.
It is apparent that each category of licenses has a fixed number. The Belgian Gaming Commission can grant licenses till the maximum number finishes. Also, when a license becomes available they can then give it to the next applicant. Those who apply for a license need to pay security for the same. This amount can be maximum up to 250,000 EUR. It also depends on the license category. Once the license is obtained, all operators need to pay an annual licensing fee.
Top Online Casinos Licensed By the Belgian Gaming Commission
It is evident from the information above, land-based as well as online gambling are legal in this country. In general, online casinos should have a land-based version. Hence, you will find several popular international brands here. These include PokerStars, Ladbrokes, Unibet, Betway, and Bwin. These brands have retail outlets as well as licenses to operate in Belgium. These foreign brands partner with local casino companies. In that way, they gain a legal license to open online casinos.
Here we look at some of the popular licensed casinos in Belgium with an online presence:
This is yet another renowned international casino brand. It has a licensed presence in Belgium. New players can get up to $120 in bonus money as well as 120 free spins. It is known for sports betting mostly. The site has a 96% payout record on top sports. Also, it is known for its fast customer service.
This site is known for slot lovers in Belgium. It offers a generous welcome bonus of up to 1500 EUR. It also provides free spins up to 150 in number. This casino accepts cryptocurrencies. It is also known for its mobile-friendly interface.
This casino offers Belgian customers a generous bonus of up to 200 EUR. Alongside that, there is a no deposit bonus offered as well. This casino is mobile-friendly and has a desktop version easy to use. Security aspects are great here as well as 24/7 customer service.
This casino is known for high rollers. It has a presence in many countries. Those who sign up here get a welcome bonus of up to $1500. Also, they get to try free spins on select slots. The site is also known for a wide range of bets.
● Flipper Flip
This is yet another site that is popular among Belgians. It has a unique, clean, and clear layout. It offers prompt customer support which makes gambling a smooth experience. The casino also has a great welcome offer for customers. This includes a maximum match-up bonus of 150 EUR/USD along with 100 free spins.
This Belgian casino is popular among Bitcoin owners. It offers payment in different cryptocurrencies. It also specializes in sports betting. There are over 2600 games in total. It also offers a sign up bonus in BTC. New customers can deposit in BTC and get a 00% bonus of up to 1 BTC.
● Power casino
This casino is known for no deposit bonuses. Also, it offers software from exclusive casino game providers. Overall, Belgians can enjoy a fair gambling experience here. Also, this casino has a welcome offer of up to 1500 EUR. This comes with 50 free spins in total.
● Cyber Spins
This site offers about 700 different games in total. There are diverse monthly promotions as well. Also, the site has a magazine that promotes different game releases every month. Those who are new to the site can enjoy 50 free spins as a no deposit offer.
● Banzai slots
This casino offers no wagering terms. That makes it popular among many Belgian gamblers. They can also enjoy fast payments here. The site has a premium game studio setup. Also, the welcome offer here includes 250 EUR along with free spins 200 in number.
This is an international casino site that has been around since 1997. This site has a licensed presence in Belgium as well. It is known for its legendary sportsbook section. The casino also offers a welcome bonus of up to 100 EUR.
Favorite Games at Belgian Casinos
It has been seen that Belgian gamblers like to indulge in different casino games. This is no different from the gaming preference of other countries. The following are their preferences when it comes to online casino games:
- Slots (classic, video, progressive)
- Live Casino
How to Select the Best Online Casinos in Belgium?
As per the data provided above, licensed casinos under Belgian Gaming Commission are the safest. They will adhere to local laws and customers have familiar methods to get support. They can also further their complaints to the gaming commission. Besides these casinos, many international sites accept players from Belgium. The government does not restrict players from gambling at these sites. However, protective measures such as the local regulatory framework do not apply at these sites. Hence, customers need to gamble at these places at their own risk.
Belgian Gaming Commission FAQ
You can visit the official site of the Belgian Gaming Commission and apply online. You could also communicate with them via registered mail.
There are several terms and conditions that an applicant needs to fulfill. Among them, they need to have a land-based casino or partner with one such brand in Belgium.
Yes, there are certain licenses by Belgian Gaming Commission that cover all casino games. However, you need to go through the details on their official website.