Belgium online casino players could soon face a more stringent cap on how much they can deposit each week to their iGaming account.
Belgium’s Council of Ministers recently signed off on a Royal Decree that would cut the weekly deposit limit for internet gambling platforms from €500 (US$591) to €200 (US$237). The proposal represents a 60 percent deposit reduction.
Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne is behind the effort. With the support of the Council of Ministers, the measure now heads to the national Data Protection Authority for review. Once complete, and assuming the agency finds that the law does not violate data protection compliance rules, the iGaming deposit threshold will move to the Belgium Council of State for final approval.
The effort to greatly reduce how much a person in the Western Europe nation can deposit online each week for gambling purposes began amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial Royal Decree limited online gamblers to depositing €500 into their iGaming account each week.
While gambling has never been the solution to any problem, the current situation could see people spending more time on the internet, especially on gaming sites,” a statement from the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) said in its support of the deposit amendment. “In addition, many people lose social control because they are alone at home.”
The BGC says protecting players is one of its most important responsibilities. The gaming regulator adds that gambling is unlike most other businesses, as it provides no physical product other than a chance at winning money.
“[Gambling] can lead to gambling addiction and significant loss of money. This is why a few protective measures have been taken to protect players against these potential risks,” the BGC said.
Multiple Accounts Allowed
The Royal Decree cutting weekly iGaming deposit limits isn’t as drastic as some wanted. An earlier proposal called for the same reduction to €200 weekly, but across the board for all internet gaming sites. The statute that the Council of Ministers approved limits the weekly deposit to each specific site, meaning a player could make multiple €200 deposits at varying platforms.
More than 40 online casino operators currently hold iGaming licenses issued by the BGC. The online deposit limit also does not apply to land-based casinos. Belgium is home to nine brick-and-mortar casinos.
However, the decree does allow operators to deny deposits if it’s known that the player has outstanding debts at other online casinos. The measure additionally permits the Gaming Commission to work with the National Bank of Belgium to monitor iGaming deposit activity that might warrant further review.
Betting Shop Crackdown
The Council of Ministers passed two decrees this week related to the country’s gaming industry. The second recommends that betting shops be included in Belgium’s Excluded Persons Information System (EPIS). The list of banned people from accessing land-based and online casinos is formed through self-exclusion and operators placing individuals on the prohibited index.
Presently, betting shops, which offer sports wagering and fixed-odds betting terminals, are immune from rejecting EPIS-listed individuals. The proposal, if passed, would require betting shops to adhere to the EPIS program.
“Since 2004, Belgium has the Excluded Persons Information System, an electronic system that bundles all excluded players. This is undoubtedly a very powerful instrument in the fight against gambling addiction,” the BGC says of the program.