Gambling is legal in Belgium including casinos, sports betting, poker and other games, but it is also heavily regulated. The relevant law is the 1999 law on gambling, betting and protection of players, which has been amended in 2010 to regulate online gambling as well.
In Belgium, casino operators, owners of various gambling establishment and employees of such companies are all required to have a licence. The types of licences required for the respective class of establishments are the following:*
- Licence A: casinos (Class 1); A+ if providing online services as well
- Licence B: amusement arcades (Class 2); B+ if providing online services as well
- Licence C: cafés and venues that sell alcohol (Class 3), valid for Bingo and one-ball only
- Licence D: employees of gambling establishments
- Licence E: sale, rent, production, etc. of gambling equipment
- Licence F1: organisers of bets (Class 4)
- Licence F2: providing betting services (e.g. newsagents)
- Licence F+: providing sports betting services on the internet
- Licence G1: providing games of chance through television
- Licence G2: providing games of chance through other media
From the types of licences available, it is apparent that online gambling is legal and quite regulated in Belgium. The licences that are valid for the operation of online gambling sites are all connected to land-based gambling forms, and can only be obtained if online activities are in connection with a brick and mortar establishment within Belgium.
Furthermore, the number of land-based licences that can be given out is fixed: at any given time, there can only be 9 casinos in Belgium, as well as 180 arcades and 34 sportsbooks. As a result, it is rather difficult for international gambling companies to enter the Belgian market.
*Source: Belgium – Gambling 2015 (ICLG)
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- Casino gambling in Belgium
- Bingo in Belgium
- Poker in Belgium
- Sports betting in Belgium
- Lottery in Belgium
- Bitcoin gambling in Belgium
Casino gambling in Belgium
Online casino gambling in Belgium: legal, requires licence
Casino gambling is legal in Belgium, and there are currently 9 casinos in the country. 9 is also the maximum number of casinos in Belgium at any given time according to the law on gambling. The land-based casinos are also spread out in 9 different regions of the country, also determined by the regulation. Belgian casinos must obtain a licence ‘A’ in order to operate legally.
Casinos in Belgium offer slot machines and various table games including baccarat, craps, roulette and poker games. There are also 180 licensed amusement arcades in Belgium which are considered Class 2 establishments and require a licence ‘B’. Such arcades, however, are not allowed to offer table games, only slot machines.
Online casinos in Belgium need to be connected to a physical gambling establishment. Most Belgium-based online casino sites operate under a B+ licence. Offering online casino gambling services to Belgian players without a valid licence can result in the operator being blacklisted and blocked, and the operator may face criminal charges.
The following online casinos accept players from Belgium:
Bingo in Belgium
Online Bingo in Belgium: legal, requires licence
Bingo is not the most popular form of gambling in Belgium, and is only offered in two of the large casinos, as well as in some Class 2 gambling establishments.
Currently none of the licensed (A+ or B+) domestic casinos and gambling establishments offer any online bingo games. Some international online bingo sites are accessible for players from Belgium, but these are offering services illicitly, and may be blocked. The best legal option for Belgian bingo enthusiast are the Bingo games run by the National Lottery.
Poker in Belgium
Online Poker in Belgium: legal, requires licence
Poker is legal in Belgium, and live Poker games of various forms (Texas Hold’em, Omaha, etc.) are offered in the large licensed brick and mortar casinos of Belgium. Both cash games and Poker tournaments are held at the Belgian casinos, but the number of tournaments that can be organised within a year is restricted by Belgian law.
Offering online poker games in Belgium requires operators to also possess a licence for land-based poker games. and to actually have a physical presence in the country. And because all the licenses have been handed out already, this makes it impossible for international poker companies to enter the Belgian gambling market. Therefore I can not recommend any poker websites for Belgian players at the moment.
Sports betting in Belgium
Online sports betting in Belgium: legal, requires licence
Sports betting operators in Belgium must apply for a licence F (F1 or F2, depending on whether they are providing the betting services themselves), and an F+ licence to also include online sports betting services. Sports betting is very popular in Belgium, with gamblers wagering on most major sport events – the most popular being, as in many European countries, football matches.
Sports betting operators who want to provide online sports betting services in Belgium are required to have a land-based betting establishment (and the corresponding licences) as well. Cooperation between brick and mortar bookmaker companies and international sports betting platforms has been known to occur.
The following online sportsbooks accept registrations from Belgium:
The website of the national lottery (e-lotto.be) also acts as a sportsbook.
Lottery in Belgium
Online lottery in Belgium: legal, state-run
The Belgian National Lottery (Loterie National Belgique) was founded in 1934. They have been offering an ever-growing selection of games, including Lotto, Bingo, Keno and several others.
The Belgian National Lottery has an online version, e-lotto.be. On the online platform all of their lottery games are available, as well as sports betting.
The following websites let people from Belgium purchase lottery tickets online:
Bitcoin gambling in Belgium
Bitcoin gambling in Belgium: illegal
Bitcoin gambling is not specifically regulated and does not need a special license.
There are no land-based Bitcoin casinos, and a physical, licensed gambling facility is the requirement for the online version of any Belgian gambling licence. However, cooperation between existing license holders and Bitcoin casinos is possible.
The following Bitcoin casinos accept players from Belgium:
If you have questions or any feedback don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Please let me know in the comments section if you think we might have gotten something wrong or if you have additional information, clarification about the legal status of online gambling in this country.
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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.
Last updated: 2016-03-28