The BGC was established by the Gambling Act of 1999 and is known to be one of the strictest regulatory bodies in Europe. Although the BGC's main duty is to ensure channelling legal gambling, with the primary aim of protecting players in the Belgian region, they actually focus on four key areas to ensure regulation across the board:
The BGC has taken protective measures to safeguard players from potential risks of gambling such as addiction and large financial losses. Examples of these protective measures include the ban on bonuses, the setting of a limit on play, and strict regulation of gambling advertising.
Advise the government and parliament:
The BGC also provides advice to the Government and Parliament on all matters related to games of chance and the protection of players.
They grant nine kinds of licenses necessary for the operation of games of chance and betting and ensure proactive management.
Conduct inspections and sanctions:
The BGC has a monitoring function with regard to compliance with the provisions of the Gambling Act. In addition to this, they have the power to impose sanctions such as warnings, suspension, license revocation and administrative fines.
Additionally, the BGC carries out its regulatory duties independently and is chaired by a magistrate. The President forms the BGC together with six ministerial representatives from the Justice, Finance, Economy, Public Health, Home Affairs and National Lottery sectors.
Online casino operators are required to have a license to legally provide services to Belgian citizens. The process to obtain an online casino license is slow, and applicants must adhere to stringent requirements for approval. To ensure that licenses are only awarded to applicants who are able to demonstrate financial standing and integrity to preserve the international reputation of Belgium as an online gambling hub, applicants will undergo a thorough assessment. In the case of something not corresponding with the requirements, the BGC will provide a checklist of necessary improvements. In addition to this, all online casino applicants must already have a land-based business present in Belgium to legally offer their services online.
There are currently eight online casinos licensed by the BGC, including Unibet - a trusted gambling site founded in 1997 with the sole idea in mind of helping players make more informed bets.
Having a BGC gambling license means that you are allowed to offer your services to the people of Belgium for up to 15 years. Although the application process is a slow and stringent one, it ensures that players are protected and that their establishment is legally operational. There are nine different licenses that the BGC can grant you - each license requiring you to fill out a different form and showcase various documents. These forms and requirements for each of the nine licenses can be found in detail on the BGC's website. In addition to this, there are five restrictive measures that BGC requires you to take in order to make sure that licenses are only awarded to applicants who want to preserve the international reputation of Belgium as an online gambling hub:
Residence in Belgium:
Operators wanting to offer their services to Belgium gamblers must be residents of Belgium, the European Union, or the European Economic Area. In case of the company being foreign, it must appoint a local director, whose operation is in Belgium - to deal with the authorities in the country and have the power to conclude contracts on its behalf.
Obtaining a Belgian bank account:
Banking with one of the banks in Belgium where the operator would need to deposit the players’ money is imperative.
Fee: Must provide proof of financial stability by guaranteeing to pay the BGC a fee of €250,000.
These should give details regarding income from changing games as well as the fees due using the documentation provided.
Compliance with the principles regarding the protection of players: This is a priority for the BGC. In addition to this, compliance regarding the content of the promotional material used and the locations where they are displayed is imperative.
By being able to identify the advantages and disadvantages of various gambling licenses, you can weigh the options of various opportunities in Belgium to find a license that suits you best.
- Trusted since 1999
- Offers 9 different gambling licenses
- Prioritizes players' mental health and financial well-being
- Slow application approval process
- Stringent requirements for license approval
- 11% gross revenue tax of gambling funds received from patrons at online casinos
- €200 playing limit
Many times unlicensed international online casinos market to the Belgian population. In fact, these illegal online casino platforms attempt to reach gamblers throughout Europe without obtaining the proper licensing. Lack of regulation is one reason that illegal online casinos are generally successful at infiltrating the digital gambling markets in Europe without licensure. However, Belgian regulators are sparing no expense in blacklisting unlicensed casinos. Here are a few domestic laws and restrictions set out by the BGC:
- Any operator providing services in the region without a license runs the risk of getting hit with a hefty fine up to €100,000. Operators must have a licensed land-based casino to qualify for an online casino license.
- Only those land-based casinos may also operate online. While some land-based casino operations partner with existing online businesses. Regulations require that the server hosting online casinos must have a location-based in Belgium.
- BGC regulations restrict international casinos without a Belgian presence from operating legally.
- Gamblers are likewise responsible for ensuring that the online casino is licensed. Players who frequent unlicensed online casinos run the risk of getting fined €25,000.
- Belgium’s online gambling regulations are strict for both operators and players to ensure the system's integrity. A lack of knowledge about the gambling landscape is not an excuse for circumventing fines related to illegal gambling.
- Online casino operators must provide proof of financial stability by guaranteeing to pay the Commission a fee equally €250,000.
- All licensed casinos operating on the web must also pay an 11% gross revenue tax on gambling funds received from patrons. Other licensing requirements for online casinos include operating with integrity, transparent fees, and gambling addiction prevention.