by Adam Dworak

Belgium Raises Legal Gambling Age to 21 in Sweeping Regulatory Overhaul

The Belgium Gaming Commission has taken a decisive step to refine the nation’s gambling landscape with a major policy shift.

Game design in online casino

Set to come into effect on September 1st, 2024, the legal age for engaging in all gambling activities will be elevated from 18 to 21. This move is part of a broader series of revisions to the Gambling Act of 7/05/1999, recently published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Comprehensive Reforms to Foster Responsible Gambling

Belgium’s legislative adjustment introduces several critical reforms. Notably, it imposes a prohibition on certain gambling devices specified in section 3.3 of the Act and ends the practice of hosting multiple gaming licenses on a single website. In a bold move to ensure responsible gambling, the amendment enforces a complete ban on incentives such as gifts, bonuses, and free games, alongside the prohibition of advertising for games of chance.

This revision stipulates that online gambling accounts held by individuals under the new age limit must be settled with refunds, and it mandates refunds for any wagers placed without proper age verification protocols.

Harmonization Across Platforms

The new legislation aligns the age requirements for sports betting, bingo, and arcades with those already in place for land-based casinos. This creates a consistent regulatory framework across various gambling avenues. Belgium’s firm stance on increasing the legal gambling age reflects a deep-seated commitment to encouraging responsible gambling and safeguarding young adults from the potential pitfalls of early gambling exposure.

Global Perspective on Gambling Regulations

Belgium is not alone in tightening gambling regulations; similar measures are reflected internationally. For instance, India has enacted stringent laws to curtail advertising for illegal offshore betting and gambling, with advisories issued to OTT platforms and cable networks to abstain from promoting such entities.

Our Comment on the Regulatory Changes

Belgium’s decisive action to raise the legal gambling age is a significant measure designed to foster a responsible gambling environment and protect its youth. Such regulatory fortitude serves as an example for jurisdictions worldwide, underlining the importance of proactive measures in the gambling industry to ensure ethical standards and social responsibility. As Belgium charts a course towards a more regulated and safer gambling experience, it sets a benchmark for global best practices in the industry.

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