Belgium to raise minimum age for gambling

The changes will apply from September 1.
The changes will apply from September 1.

The Belgian gambling regulator has confirmed that the measure will come into force this year.

Belgium.- The Belgian gambling regulator, Kansspelcommissie, has confirmed that it will go ahead with the implementation of a proposed increase in the minimum age for gambling. The legal gambling age in Belgium will rise from 18 to 21 from September 1.

Belgium already applied an over 21 age requirement for land-based casinos and arcades, but the restriction will now be expanded to all forms of gambling. To date, Greece is the only EU country with a minimum age of 21 for both online and land-based gambling.

The move forms part of a series of amendments to Belgium’s 1999 Gambling Act, which were approved by the Chamber of Representatives in January after being proposed by Green Party minister Stefaan Van Hecke. Other changes include a ban on slots at bars and recreational clubs and new marketing restrictions.

Belgium has already banned all forms of gambling advertising under a measure that came into force in July last year. From September, licensed operators will also be prohibited from offering free bets, bonuses or gifts as incentives, and they will not be allowed to promote igaming on sites that offer sportsbetting, bingo or poker. A ban on gambling advertising at football stadiums is already due to come into effect on January 1, 2025.

The Belgian association of gambling operators, BAGO, has opposed the new measures. Chair Tom De Clercq, said: “BAGO has repeatedly spoken out in favour of limiting advertising, including through traditional media. But we have also always warned that a total ban on advertising in places where illegal operators are massively present, especially online, will have serious side effects. We must once again conclude that policymakers ignore the solutions we have proposed and opt for populist formulas.”

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