Belgian chocolate, bikes, beer and waffles are famous all around the globe. Furthermore, from a sporting perspective, this tiny country has plenty to be proud of as well. Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are playing for Real Madrid, Romelu Lukaku is at Inter Milan, Kevin de Bruyne shines at Manchester City and Belgium boasts some of the best table tennis teams in the world. It’s also no wonder that the Belgium national football team is ranked highly by FIFA as they are constant in performances for quite some time now.
From a betting perspective, Belgium ought to set an example since the EU headquarters are located in Brussels. Besides that, a national lottery is in place as early as the 15th century. So, it goes without saying that Belgians are heavily involved in online betting and other forms of gambling. The betting sites in Belgium are regulated by the Belgian Gaming Commission – or Kansspelcommissie – and even if the authorities did their best to come up with fair laws, in the end betting sites Belgie were favoured. We’ve made a list with the best betting sites Belgium has to offer, as well as important info about the betting landscape in this country.
The ban on games of chance in Belgium leads to the uncontrolled proliferation of illegal operators so the authorities had to take action and implement rules to control the environment. The Gaming and Betting Act of 7 May 1999 was the first step towards a regulated gambling landscape, with the Gaming Commission being instituted. So, anyone wondering “Is sports betting legal in Belgium?” should have his answer by now. And, in short, that answer is “yes”.
However, the first modern betting law concerning online betting was passed in Belgium in 2011. Unlike other European countries, the Belgians decided to come up with rules against a betting monopoly, instead of vying for a more competitive market through a licensing system. Since this act makes no distinction between physical and online betting, all operators that want to apply for a license in the country need to have a physical presence as well. The licenses from foreign jurisdictions such as the UK or Malta are not recognised.
Operators that try to offer their services without a license are placed on what is known as one of the first blacklists. The list is updated monthly and passed to ISPs for domain blocking. Besides DNS blocking, any operators caught red-handed, can be hit with a fine up to €100,000. Punters holding an active account on these bookmakers can get fines of up to €25,000 as well. Despite efforts from operators like bet-at-home to go around the DNS blocks by going in court and assuming that domain blocking is illegal data collection, the measure remained in place. Bwin also tried their luck with sweetening the legal conditions through various methods, however, they ended up applying for a license to operate legally. So, can you bet in Belgium in complete safety? The answer is again yes since all the operators receiving a license are checked periodically to make sure they respect the regulations.
Slowly but steadily, the operators stopped trying to deem the laws unfair by requesting help from the EU to amend the rules. Instead, partnerships with local companies were formed and right now 24 out of the total 35 available licenses for online bookies are active.
The particular case of Betway has already made the headlines. The Belgian Gambling Commission started a sanction procedure for lack of transparency concerning Betway’s ownership structure. The Council of State decided to annul Casinos Austria International’s online betting license, the local partner of Betway. There are voices saying that Betway was targeted with such a harsh measure because it also offered casino products on their website.
Recent legislation addressed the matter of advertising for online betting and gambling activities. Therefore, as of November 2018, all advertisements before 8:00 PM are completely prohibited and there are talks about banning advertisement of online gambling products altogether.
Another example of how serious the Belgian Gaming Commission is about enforcing the gambling laws comes from the recent decision of EA to join Activision Blizzard, Valve and 2K in removing loot boxes as rewards in video games for Belgian customers. This decision has led to many other European jurisdictions starting enquires and gallops towards following the same direction. On the other hand, many video game industry representatives were quick to point out that Belgium is refusing to follow the EU commission’s directives when it comes to online gambling, so setting a legal precedent based on loot boxes should be invalid.
Punters are highly interested in the quality of the odds online betting sites Belgium can offer. That’s the first and most important aspect that top betting sites Belgium should focus on to stand out of the crowd. Next in line, a diverse and flexible offer of bets on football, cycling, tennis and table tennis bets. Both pre-match and live betting markets needs to be vibrant so that punters can choose the ones that can offer the largest profit. Of course, sports betting sites Belgium offering their website completely translated in French, German and even Dutch will have a bigger chance of scoring high in Belgian punters’ preferences.
Belgian betting sites are easily accessible by punters, however, when it comes to betting on foreign bookies, the situation is not that straightforward. The authorities make a clear distinction between legal betting sites in Belgium and the ones that operate in the country without having received a license from the BGC. Almost all operators that are still active in Belgium without a license are immediately placed on a blacklist that is passed on by the BGC to the Internet Service Providers to block access to the respective domains. Luckily though, there are plenty of international betting sites that work in Belgium, you just need a reliable VPN and accessing them won’t be an issue anymore.
Unfortunately, the harsh regulations towards online betting also hit deposit methods in Belgium. Credit cards are entirely excluded as a payment option at bookmakers Belgie while mandatory weekly deposit limits have been imposed. €500 per week is the maximum players can deposit at bookmakers in Belgium, while the maximum monthly bookmaker bonus amount is also capped at €275. The good news is that with all the new betting sites in Belgium, you won’t have to worry about these limits or restrictions on payment options.
While there aren’t any betting exchanges that applied or received licenses to deliver their services in Belgium, punters can still access them. Just like with bookmakers Belgique, using a VPN software will grant you access to betting exchanges and their services. You will be able to place bets against other punters and even set your own odds or special bets on a huge variety of sporting competitions.
For licensed operators, the main point of contact regarding any complaint is the BCG. Otherwise, if you’re enjoying the services of a bookmaker licensed by the MGA or UKGC, contact the regulatory body directly via the contact forms available online or through a phone call. As always, we are here for you in case you need assistance with any of the bookmakers found on our website. Just leave us a message with what’s going on and we’ll make sure your voice is heard.