Belgium’s minister of health wants every gambling game, from roulette to slots and lotteries, to display a risk score, to give players more information about gambling addiction.
Minister Frank Vandenbroucke’s statements followed the news that between October 2022 and January 2024, nearly 230,000 players have asked to raise the country’s €200 spending limit, according to De Standaard.
It also follows increasing restrictions in the country, with the House of Representatives passing a bill last month that would tighten already-strict advertising rules and require a player to open a separate account for every game they want to play with an operator.
The new bill, sponsored by Stefaan van Hecke, has been opposed by the Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO), who complain that the restrictions do not apply to the national lottery.
“It becomes impossible for the operator and the government to gain a clear view of problematic gambling behaviour and to take preventive action,” BAGO wrote last week.
An ad ban also leads to players getting lured to the black market, the trade group said.
The Green member of parliament’s bill would also ban bonuses and raise the gambling age from 18 to 21 for most forms of gambling other than lottery.
Sports betting and casino games would also not be allowed at the same physical location.
The bill passage also follows the gambling advertising ban that took effect last July 1, over opposition from sports and media organisations, as well as the gambling industry.
In the latest development, Vandenbroucke also called for a thorough study of gambling issues in the country.
About 52,000 have excluded themselves through the EPIS system, while another 65,000 have been excluded from gambling for reasons including bankruptcy, according to Belgian Gaming Commission figures.
The Flemish Expertise Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs (VAD) has been an advocate of raising the minimum age for gambling from 18 to 21.