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Belgium Online Casinos & Gambling Guide 2018

UKGambling in various forms dates back hundreds of years in Belgium, and online betting and gaming have been completely regulated since the early 2000s.

With Belgium's capital Brussels acting as headquarters of the EU, you might expect Belgium to be leading the way in online casino laws and regulations. However, the government has created additional legislation to afford them greater control over the industry. This is a bone of contention for gambling operators, but it matters little to casino players, who have had access to the very best online slots for years.

In 2018, there is a good selection of online casinos. Belgium has stricter gaming laws than most EU nations, but there isn't the sort of state-run monopolies one would find in other countries.

In this sports-mad nation, betting is possible on a range of team sports and horse racing. But what is the situation like for players at online casinos? Belgium has a fairly good approach, as you'll see in our guide to gambling in the land of waffles and great beer.

When it comes to online casinos, Belgium-based players actually have a good selection of sites and real money deposit options to pick from. Find a site packed with top slots and table games today.

Best Belgian Casino Sites in 2018

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Best Belgian Casino Sites in 2018

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Gambling Laws in Belgium in 2018

Currently, gambling in the country is overseen by the Gaming Act of 7 May 1999. However, the law was modified in 2010 to be stricter towards unlicensed operators. It came into practice in 2011.

The key piece of legislation states that to obtain a licence to operate an online gambling service, an operator must also have a physical, bricks-and-mortar licence as well. This means that if any operator wants to offer online betting services to Belgians, they must also do so from licensed premises within Belgian borders.

The new, harsher, gambling law of 2010 didn't go down well with the EU, who judged it to be in contravention of free-trade laws. In 2010, both the European and Betting Association (EBA) and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) lodged complaints with the European Commission.

Gambling in Belgium is governed by the Belgian Gaming Commission, which carries a regular list of blacklisted gambling sites. Players face fines if caught playing at them. Any remote gaming site or casino operating without a Gaming Commission licence is breaking the law in Belgium.

Fines and Licences

Despite EU trade laws taking down barriers to cross-border trade, this doesn't seem to have filtered through to the Belgian government. Even if a betting site or casino is based in the European Union, it must have an eligible licence in Belgium. The number of licences issued is strictly regulated too.

Online licences are limited to 9 A+ casino licences, 180 B+ licences for gaming arcades, and 34 F1+ licences for wagers. Only companies which hold a “real world” A, B or F1 licence can obtain a license to offer the same services online, and the law states that there should be no disparity between services offered online or offline.

A Licences: These allow major Belgian offline casinos to offer casino games online. In most cases, casino sites are run in conjunction with existing firms.

A+ licence-holders, as of February 2018, include major casinos like Casino of Spa and the Grand Casino Brussels. All nine casino licence holders have tie-ups with major existing offshore sites. Effectively, online gambling sites must have a fixed offline establishment within Belgium's borders.

The Gambling Act leaves little room for ambiguity, and states that anyone “facilitating the operation” of illegal games of chance is liable to prosecution. This includes internet service providers if they allow access to unlicensed websites, media companies if they carry adverts for unlicensed sites, and banks if they process financial transactions to unlicensed operations.

Fines of up to 100,000 euros can be levied against companies breaking this law. Individuals can be fined up to 25,000 euros for using unlicensed websites although it's rare. This makes it extremely difficult for Belgians to access unlicensed sites, although with so many legal options available, one would question why anyone would attempt to access an illegal site anyway.

B Licences: These govern who can operate online slot machines. They are smaller operators around Belgium, who also have deals with .be casino rooms on the web.

C Licence: This list governs bingo machines in pubs and cafes where alcohol is served.

F Licences - These licences (F1, F2, F1+) govern who can operate sportsbetting and horse racing wagering services online. There are just over 30 as of February 2018. This list mostly features betting shops and sports associations in Belgium. An F1 licence is needed for organising wagers, while an F2 licence is required if you accept bets. An F1+ licence facilitates betting online.

Best Deposit Methods for Belgian Gamblers

At legal online casinos, Belgium depositors have a spread of good banking options to pick from. Most carry no, or low, fees, and the limits can be high. A bank card or credit card isn't always required. Often, anonymous gambling banking is a preferred option. At most big casino sites and gambling rooms, deposits can be made in euros.

iDebit

Safe bank transfers are important for gamblers from Belgium. iDebit is an online banking processor that facilitates safe transfers direct from your Belgian bank account. It's available in a dozen European countries, including Belgium, so euro transfers are simple and easy.

Paysafecard

Paysafecard is a leading prepaid voucher scheme that works with gambling sites. When depositing at online casinos, Belgium gamblers can use a simple prepaid voucher to move funds in and out. There's no need to use a debit or credit card, and you can pick up a Paysafecard voucher at a local outlet in Brussels or your own town.

VISA

VISA credit cards are an easy way of funding casino gambling. Most casinos accepting Belgian players will accept VISA payments too. All you need is a valid card with funds available. VISA debit cards can also be used at most European-facing casino and betting websites.

Live Betting and Casinos

Under current Belgian gambling law, land-based casinos are permitted with the required licence. Brussels and Spa have the better casinos, but you will find slots and table games at most.

Slots: There is a strict limit of 15 automatic gaming terminals for each opened table, for at least five hours. Casinos have a monopoly on video slot machines. However, players can enjoy a range of reel slots, video slots, and Wheel of Fortune-style machines for real money. Slots are also found in dedicated arcades.

Table Games: Familiar and popular games like roulette, Sic Bo, and craps are offered in most Belgian casinos. European Roulette, commonly referred to as "La Roulette Anglaise" (English Roulette) is available. This plays like traditional European Roulette with the La Partage and En Prison rules of French Roulette removed. The layouts are still displayed in French.

Popular Casinos: Casino de Spa

Casino de Spa is situated in a town known for, predictably, its ancient spa. If you're not enjoying the thermal bath, the casino offers table games, slots and poker. Roll'Hit is an interesting local variant that combines roulette and dice. The casino's cardroom also runs poker tournaments through the week and hosts special events from the Amateur Poker Association & Tour (APAT).

Popular Casinos: Grand Casino Brussels Viage

The Grand Casino sits right in the middle of Brussels city centre. Slot machines are the big attraction here. Grand Casino Brussels Viage boasts over 400 machines, including many multi-game terminals from the likes of Novomatic.

The Grand Casino also has a small poker room, and in 2017 hosted the World Poker Tour (WPT) DeepStacks Brussels event. Local players and Europeans paid a €1,200 buy-in to enter.

As with all casinos in Belgium, visitors must be 21 or over to enter and must bring a valid ID card. Membership for Belgian casinos is free after the first visit, however.

Sportsbetting: Under Belgian gaming law, "totaliser" style bets are permitted on horse races at home and abroad. Gamblers can also place wagers on fixed-odds markets. Bets can only be placed in licensed betting shops, as well as horse race tracks.

There are a few racetracks in Belgium. The Hippodrome Wellington Racecourse in Ostend is a coastal track with an adjoining golf course. It hosts flat races and harness racing. The racecourse is tied to the Casino Oostende, a local gambling establishment that hosts bingo events. However, more conventional games like European Roulette, blackjack, and Casino Stud Poker can also be played.

Poker: Poker is treated as a game of chance by the Belgian Gaming Commission. As such, like online casinos, Belgium requires a licence to offer Texas Hold'em or Omaha. However, there is an exception under the Gaming and Betting Act of 1999, which allows small-stakes card games to be played outside casinos.

Some casinos in Belgium run small cardrooms, such as the Casino de Spa and Grand Casino in Brussels. The World Poker Tour is among those organisations to have run live events in Belgium recently.

Find the Best Online Casinos in 2018

In 2018, it's important for Belgians to trust the best range of legal online casinos. Belgium is more regulated than most Eurozone countries when it comes to gambling. However, that means that slots and table games nuts can find legit, safe places to play.

Belgium at a Glance

Population: 11.3 million

Legal Age of Gambling: 21

Land-based Casinos (Y/N): Y

Online Casinos Legal (Y/N): Y

Popular Games: Slots, poker, horse racing, lottery, roulette

Brief History of Gambling in Belgium

1300s - Documents referring to card games date back to the 14th Century.

circa 16th Century - First Belgian lottery is set up.

1883 - Hippodrome Wellington racecourse is built, named after the English Duke of Wellington.

1999 - The Gaming Act of 7 May 1999 is passed. Online casinos must have a partnership with existing land-based operators in order to offer services online. A system of licensing is set up.

2002 - National Lottery Act is passed to manage the setting up and management of a new countrywide lottery. Online gambling officially becomes legal.

2009 - Stronger laws are proposed by the Belgian government to prohibit European online gaming sites operating in Belgium.

2010 - The Belgian Gaming Act of 10 January 2010 modifies existing rules and adopts a stricter approach to offshore gambling. This comes amid complaints from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EBA) over free movement of services.

2017 - Belgian Gambling Commission declares loot boxes in popular video games to be a form of gambling.

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