Tougher gambling regulations to be proposed

Summary

The federal justice minister is on the brink of introducing a proposal to tighten restriction on gambling – both online and off

Mayors want more options

Flanders’ fast-growing gambling industry could soon face stricter regulations as federal justice minister Koen Geens finalises a proposal that he hopes to introduce before the summer recess.

Under the proposal, there would be no adverts for online gambling allowed during sporting events or on television before 20.00. There would also be a warning with every advert.

The number of approved gambling offices could be cut from 1,000 to 600, and bingo in bars would face tougher rules.

Gambling is at an all-time high in Belgium with €850 million spent in casinos, bookmakers and online in 2015. Belgians are also spending some €320 million a year on the National Lottery .

Geens’ proposal is not without its opponents, but his office said that several Flemish mayors have been calling for tougher regulations. While there is a general agreement on increasing regulations around internet gambling, that is not the case for games in bars and restaurants and the number of approved offices.

“More compromises have to be made,” according to a statement by coalition partners N-VA and Open VLD. “The new law cannot be allowed to destroy the whole sector.”

Photo: Ingimage