Gamblers in Belgium are only now coming to terms with weekly deposit limits in online casinos. However, they’re going to have to prepare for a new change, as the government is reducing the amount for a second time in two years.
In April 20020, Belgium decided that no one needed to be able to deposit more than €500 (US$591) in any given week to gamble. That didn’t make a lot of people happy, but it was still within a reasonable amount.
Last year, the government, through the Council of Ministers, said it would introduce a new, lower limit. It planned to cap the weekly deposits at €200 (US$237), which it has now done. Fortunately, the plan comes with a way out.
New Spending Limits in Belgium
The new limit comes into force after its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette. It officially begins on October 20 and will apply to all gaming verticals in the country.
The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), Kansspelcommissie, will review all player accounts on a weekly basis and reset the limits as necessary. The objective is the same as spending limits introduced in other countries – to control how consumers manage their discretionary funds.
The good news, however, is that players can request the removal of the cap. Not everyone is eligible, but anyone can try. Consumers will contact the operator, who will then notify the BGC of the request.
The next step will be for the BGC to contact the National Bank of Belgium to determine if the individual has defaulted on any financial obligations. All of the defaults are on the bank’s Central Individual Credit Register.
If the player is clean, the operator can lift the cap. Generally speaking, the process should only take about three days to complete.
Should the BGC greenlight the removal of the limit, it will then monitor those individuals through separate controls. It will look for any defaults that may arise and, if one does, the €200 limit will be brought back.
Alternatively, players can request a limit lower than the €200 cap with gaming operators. All such requests are subject to immediate implementation, and each operator must receive the request.
Keeping Things Real
The new cap and the planned ban on gambling advertising that Belgium will implement this year could ultimately hurt the legal market. Too many restrictions may lead to some gamblers choosing offshore platforms, where they can source their entertainment activity more freely.
However, the BGC is constantly battling to keep unlicensed sites out of the country. While overtly marketing to Belgian gamblers is easy to control, there are still plenty of ways players can circumvent the blocks.
Since beginning to cut off access to unlicensed sites, the regulator has uncovered a long list of offenders. This past May it added 31 new domains, bringing the total number of blocked sites to 380. However, there are undoubtedly more that are active.
Many of the sites the country has blocked operate with licenses out of Curacao. The country has become an international target for its lax gaming controls, but not for much longer. It is implementing a number of changes to improve its reputation in the global gaming ecosystem.
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