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Belgian report highlights risks of excessive regulation on channelisation

Monday 08 de April 2024 / 12:00


2 minutos de lectura

(Belgium).- On July 1, 2023, Belgium enacted a comprehensive prohibition on gambling advertisements. This occurred subsequent to the failure of a legal challenge against the Royal Decree by a coalition of sports organizations and betting companies. The prohibition was met with opposition, particularly from the Belgian gambling association Bago, which emphasized that the government’s enactment of the ban contradicted the recommendations of the national Gambling Commission.

Belgian report highlights risks of excessive regulation on channelisation

Gaming1’s report has now outlined the impact of the Royal Decree on channelisation towards legal operators in Belgium.

Gaming1 pointed to surveys conducted by Nepa in 2023. The studies found a 6% rise in online players using an illegal website in the past three months following the Royal Decree, as well as a 4% increase on deposits made on illegal gaming websites.

Gaming1 also showed the results of two studies from the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) and Yield Sec, the latter of which found a 4.4x increase in illegal operators during 2024, with the number jumping from 500 to 2,214.

Dangers of the illegal market

With a busy sporting summer coming up, Gaming1 stated it was now more important than ever to combat illegal play.

This could prove challenging, however. Gaming1 outlined bigger winnings, ease of access and the possibility of playing under the legal age requirement of 21-years-old as key attractions for the black market.

As a result, players are at risk of prosecution when playing with illegal operators. There is also no safety net or responsible gaming system available to protect them from harm.

Illegal sites are prevalent, too. A survey from IPSOS and the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) found that four of the top 10 best-known gaming websites in Belgium are illegal.

Over-regulation seen as an issue

Gaming1’s report highlighted concerns over the impact of perceived over-regulation on channelisation. In recent years, Belgium has made a number of changes to its gambling market with the aim of protecting players. However, Gaming1 argues these are becoming “increasingly restrictive”.

Since 2020, Belgium has banned bonuses and free bets, while also introducing a €200 (£171.48/$216.54) weekly deposit limit. After the Royal Decree to almost completely ban advertising came in during 2023, the age limit was then raised for sports betting to 21, a change which is due to come into effect in September of this year.

Gaming1 states these alterations are failing to properly address the problem, with a strategy of stigmatisation used ahead of a scientific approach.

As a result, gambling’s financial benefits aren’t being properly considered. The industry employs approximately 16,000 people in Belgium. BGC data from 2022 also revealed the sector pays around €1.17bn a year in tax into the economy.

Gaming1 calls for nuanced approach

Rather than a strategy it perceives as stigmatisation of the gambling industry, Gaming1 is instead calling for a more considered approach to counter the black market.

The operator pointed to self-restriction solutions, self-assessment tests and personalised messages depending on the risk level as three of the potential tactics that should be better implemented.

Gaming1 also outlined the need to strike the “right balance” between regulation and the creation of a competitive sector. To do this, Gaming1 states the importance of establishing better dialogue between the relevant parties, such as lawmakers and regulators.


Tags: Sin tags

País: Belgium

Región: EMEA



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