Belgium Gambling Law Modernisation Clears Key Hurdle

October 3, 2023
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Belgium’s Council of Ministers has approved a preliminary draft law aimed at modernising the country’s gambling law and bringing it into compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
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Belgium’s Council of Ministers has approved a preliminary draft law aimed at modernising the country’s gambling law and bringing it into compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The proposal was made by Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne, with its approval by the council announced on Friday (September 29).

The bill would enshrine into law the databases of excluded players (EPIS) and “better distinguish the processing of data and information which is necessary for the protection of players”, according to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.

The preliminary draft law has been sent for opinion to the Council of State and the Belgian Data Protection Authority.

Belgium introduced its list of excluded players (EPIS ) in 2004. The system has been used at the entrance to casinos, gaming machine venues and online betting. It was extended in 2019 to land-based sports-betting venues.

Separately, on September 28, the Belgian Gaming Commission published its market research survey findings of 1,000 “young people” between the ages of 18 and 30.

Only 34 percent of the survey respondents agreed that “the distinction between legal and illegal websites offering betting and casino games are clear”. The figure increased to 46 percent among people who had gambled over the past three years.

Around 53 percent of the respondents had gambled over the past three years, with 45 percent playing online compared with 37 percent playing offline. Of the respondents who gambled, 62 percent did so only once a month or less frequently.

The survey also found that 93 percent of participants knew a legal gambling website by name compared with 44 percent who knew of an illegal gambling website by name.

When it comes to gambling advertising, 46 percent of 18 to 30-year-olds are against a general ban on advertising, but believe there should be certain restrictions, while 42 percent support an advertising ban for casino and betting products.

The Belgian Gaming Commission said: “The research has yielded interesting information about their gambling behavior. It makes you think about actions that can be taken in order to better protect the players.”

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