Belgian Gaming Commission calls for limits on betting at newspaper stores

The Belgian regulator seeks to limit which newsagents can host sports betting terminals.
The Belgian regulator seeks to limit which newsagents can host sports betting terminals.

The Belgian gambling regulator has called for a new royal decree to limit sports betting to larger newspaper stores.

Belgium.- The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has published its advice on Article 42 of the Act published on November 28 regarding licensed sports betting at newsagents.

The regulator has proposed that the Belgian government issue a royal decree to define the “sideline activity” in order to clarify which newspaper stores can host sports betting terminals.

The BGC argues that a shop’s suitability to host sports betting should be determined based on the size of its contract with a press distributor. The regulator also proposes that fees be calculated based on turnover from press sales.

The regulator has also called for a limit on the hours during which sports betting terminals can be used, and proposes the law clarify that newspaper shops may host machines provided by private gambling operators, not only those from the National Lottery.

It’s called for the government to delay enacting the November 28 Act until its proposals can be enacted through a royal decree.

It said in a statement: “The purpose of this advice is to limit the offer of betting, both in space and time, in order to protect players. The GC proposes that only newspaper shops that have a (sufficiently) large supply of up-to-date press through a contract with a press distributor should be allowed to offer betting.”

It added: “The GC once again urges the government to ensure that the new rules are clearly formulated so that they can be efficiently monitored, both when a licence is granted/renewed and during on-site inspections.”

In September, the country’s Constitutional Court confirmed the annulment of the 1999 Gambling Act, meaning that operators in Belgium can no longer offer online gaming and sports betting on the same website.

The 1999 legislation had already been mainly replaced by a 2019 Act, but the change meant that online gaming (A+) and online betting (F1+) verticals must be offered on separate sites – something that operators had fought against.

See also: Belgium sees 4-fold increase in gambling activity during Euros

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