The Belgian gaming industry is one of the oldest and most stable ones in the European region. In this article by Login Casino, you will find out about the rules of operators licensing, legislative features of the jurisdiction, and the prospects for the Belgian market development.
Belgian Gaming Industry Features
Land-based gambling establishments were legalized in the country in 1999, and since then Belgians have been enabled to play in casinos. Online gambling operations have been legally regulated since 2002. Belgium Gaming Commission is the gaming industry regulatory body.
On the territory of the country, there are nine gambling establishments, seven specialized poker rooms, three racetracks, and one sports betting operator.
One of the gambling industry features in Belgium is that card and table games held at carnivals or fairs, and the ones organized for charitable purposes do not fall under the definition of gambling.
Any gambling operation in the country is carried out only on the basis of a license issued by the Belgian gambling regulator. Illegal gambling establishments advertising is punishable by law.
A key feature of the Belgian market is that online gambling license is available only for operators that have already obtained a license for a land-based gambling establishment.
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According to Belgian law, gambling operation and organization are allowed in the country. The law defines gambling as entertainment associated with betting for money. The definition includes table and card games, slot machines, as well as sports betting operations.
In addition to legislation that legalized land-based and online casinos, there is a separate regulation (two royal decrees) for online gambling. The first decree obliges operators to provide data on the name, structure of the online casino’s official site, as well as technical features of the server. According to the second decree, online gambling operators should provide the gaming regulator with information about their creditworthiness, fiscal obligations, and the company's marketing policy. In addition, the operators undertake to provide information on personal data protection and users’ transactions, as well as policies regarding clients that belong to socially vulnerable groups. Social casinos where users can play free slot machines without spending personal funds are also allowed in Belgium.
These decrees provide a legal basis for effective dialogue between operators and the gaming regulator, which ensures the efficiency of the online gambling industry.
Another royal decree adopted in 2018 has limited gambling advertising in the state.
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The profit tax rate is set at 33.99%. Additional tax on gambling is 15%. VAT for online gambling operators is 21%.
Belgium Gambling License
In Belgium, there are various types of licenses for gambling operations. Land-based casino operators obtain an A license. There is also its enhanced version, called A+. Gambling halls require a B license or its enhanced version – B+. C license allows providing services related to the use of slot machines in bars. For employees of gambling establishments and gambling halls, it is necessary to purchase a D license. An E license is provided for the integrated management of land-based gambling establishments and gambling halls.
Bookmakers require an F1-F2 license. Those betting operators who want to provide online services have to obtain an F+ license. Games played on TV require a G1-G2 license.
The extended version of the license is equated with the right to conduct online services.
To obtain a work permit in the jurisdiction, you must provide a list of documents. Some requirements are extremely specific. For example, it is obligatory to provide a document showing that the company’s owner respects the political and civil rights of Belgium. Next, you must provide a certificate of no criminal conviction and copies of tax returns.
One of the mandatory requirements for operators is to open an account with a deposit of at least €250 thousand.
Licenses are issued for a period of 15 years with the right of renewal.
Prospects for Belgian Gambling Industry Development
In fact, Belgium is the first European country to legalize land-based and online gambling. The Belgian players were the first to gamble legally. Due to the legal requirements’ rigidity in relation to operators, the market is not simple, but its strengths are the rules’ transparency and stability. In addition, due to the increased control and the complex licensing process, the market participants are considered special ones, and the industry – prestigious.
As mentioned earlier, the French authorities expressed their plans to replace the local regulatory body with a new one.
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