Belgium Sets New Weekly Deposit Limit

July 21, 2022
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A Belgian royal decree has set a new €200-a-week deposit cap for online gambling accounts, with regulator and bank checks needed for players to lift the limit.

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A Belgian royal decree has set a new €200-a-week deposit cap for online gambling accounts, with regulator and bank checks needed for players to lift the limit.

The decree was published in the country’s official gazette on Wednesday (July 20) and will enter into force on October 20.

All players, even those who have previously gone through checks to have their deposit limits raised, will have the new limit applied to their accounts.

A proposal to reduce the online deposit limit from €500 to €200 was first put forward by justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, and subsequently approved by the country’s Council of Ministers, in July 2021.

Van Quickenborne believes the changes are needed to “protect vulnerable people from the devastating effects of gambling addiction”.

News of the impending new limit follows a series of key recommendations made by the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) in June 2022 to the minister, after it was asked for advice regarding amendments to the Gaming Act.

The commission’s suggestions included tougher registration and identification of players linked with reliable financial data, mandatory gambling limits for players, a strict complaints procedure that operators would have to follow, better monitoring and data analysis and stronger controls for the commission itself.

The new weekly limit is calculated based on the player's deposits over the previous seven-day period, as opposed to from Monday to Sunday.

Players can request to have their limits increased or decreased.

If operators receive a request to have the limit increased it will be passed on to the BGC, which in turn will run checks lasting three days with the National Bank of Belgium to see if the player is known as a “defaulter” in its register.

Once the request is approved, the player’s account will have no upper limit, with the bank running monthly checks to ensure the person has not been added to the defaulter register.

“The purpose of this provision is to prevent persons with payment difficulties from trying to solve their financial problems through play. The game should never be seen as a way to get out of financial trouble,” according to information for players on the changes, published by the gambling regulator.

Belgium’s last annual gambling report for 2020, published a few months ago, revealed turnover for the industry had declined by 17 percent.

Additionally, the report found that approximately 20 percent of Belgian players participate in games of chance on illegal websites, often without realising it.

However, following the report’s publication, it was a potential advertising ban, not impending new limits, that the Belgian Association for Gaming Operators (BAGO) warned would drive more players to the black market.

The justice minister said he is “done with gambling advertising” during a radio interview in May 2022, as the country notified the European Commission of its draft royal decree to severely restrict gambling ads.

At the time of writing, the BAGO had not responded for comment on the latest developments.

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