22.11.2023

by Mateusz Mazur

Belgium Tightens Enforcement on Unlicensed Gambling Activities

Belgium’s Board of Attorneys General has recently issued new guidelines aimed at intensifying the crackdown on unlicensed gambling activities.

The guidelines emphasize a tougher stance on online gambling operators who function without a license, classifying such activities as criminal offenses. This move marks a clear demarcation of responsibilities between the country’s Gambling Commission and the Public Prosecution Service.

Clarifying Roles Between Regulators and Prosecutors

The primary objective of these new regulations is to delineate the roles and responsibilities of the Gambling Commission and the legal prosecutors.

The Board of Attorneys General seeks to ensure a consistent application of the law across all cases and enhance collaboration between these two pivotal entities. This initiative is designed to streamline the process of handling gambling-related misconduct.

Criteria for Criminal Classification in Gambling Misconduct

The Gambling Commission retains its enforcement powers, including issuing warnings, suspending or revoking licenses, and imposing fines.

However, under the new guidelines, the Public Prosecution Service will step in under specific circumstances. These include cases where gambling activities are conducted clandestinely, operations continue despite license suspension or revocation, unlicensed online gambling businesses, and violations of Article 54 of the country’s Gambling Act.

This article pertains to the duty of gaming businesses to refuse service to certain individuals, like minors and self-excluded players.

Combating Illegal Gambling and Protecting Players

The Board highlighted the risks associated with illegal gambling establishments, such as lack of player protection, contribution to other criminal activities, and evasion of public funds. The new approach is expected to bolster the fight against these illegal practices and ensure a safer gambling environment.

This revision of guidelines is part of Belgium’s ongoing efforts to refine its gambling regulations. Earlier this year, Belgium made a significant decision to ban all gambling advertisements starting from 1 July, leading to legal pushbacks from operators. This followed the October 2022 implementation of a €200 weekly loss limit, a reduction from the previous €500 limit established in April 2020.

Conclusion

The recent guidelines issued by Belgium’s Board of Attorneys General represent a critical step in reinforcing the legal framework against unlicensed gambling activities.

By clearly defining the roles of the Gambling Commission and the Public Prosecution Service, Belgium is taking a more coordinated approach to enforce its gambling laws.

This move not only aims to protect consumers but also addresses the broader issue of gambling-related crimes. The ongoing regulatory changes reflect Belgium’s commitment to maintaining a responsible and legally compliant gambling sector.

 

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