Belgium‘s Council of Attorney Generals has introduced updated guidelines for the prosecution of violations in the gambling sector.
This council, a principal advisor to Belgium’s National Justice System, has released these guidelines following a comprehensive assessment of the laws and regulations under the Belgian Gaming Act of 1999.
According to the Attorney Generals: “Gambling poses risks such as addiction and compulsive gambling behaviors. To safeguard players both financially and in terms of health from these negative impacts, the legislator has established stringent rules.
“The Council of Attorneys General has formulated guidelines to elucidate these rules, to guarantee their consistent application, and to delineate the responsibilities of the Gaming Commission as well as its collaboration with the Public Prosecution Service.”
The Council clarified that the Kansspel Commissie, the Belgian Gambling Authority, is authorized to engage federal authorities for issuing cautions, sanctions, and to prohibit both licensed and unlicensed operators from participating in the gambling market.
However, the Kansspel Commissie is required to work in tandem with Belgium’s Federal Prosecutors Office on gambling violations connected to criminal acts.
In cases involving illegal gambling venues, operations continuing post-license revocation, and unauthorized online gambling and promotion, the Federal Prosecutors Office should receive notification from the Kansspel Commissie.
The Council emphasized that gambling offenses potentially classified as criminal acts are outlined in Article 543 of Belgium’s Gaming Act, providing a legal basis for criminal prosecution by concerned parties.
Belgian gambling faced significant regulatory changes in 2023, marked by the government’s adoption of amendments to the Gaming Act through a Royal Decree.
Effective from 1 July, Belgium enforced the Royal Decree, establishing a comprehensive prohibition on all betting/gambling advertisements across various media channels.
Furthermore, the Royal Decree in Belgium elevated the minimum gambling age from 18 to 21 years, harmonizing the age requirement for sports betting and bingo with the existing age threshold for casino visits. As part of this change, all gambling establishments are mandated to perform obligatory verification checks on patrons before entry.