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Belgium Online Casinos

Belgium Online CasinosGambling in various forms dates back hundreds of years in Belgium, and online betting and gaming has been completely legalized since 2002. As the headquarters of the EU, you might expect Belgium to be leading the way in online casino laws and regulations, but the government have 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 games for over a decade.

Football and cycling are very popular sports in Belgium, and there is also a huge betting market on horse trotting and harness racing. Betting is ingrained into Belgian culture and casino games remain among the most popular forms of gambling in the country. We’ve selected some of the very best Belgian online casinos here:

Best Belgian Casino Sites in 2017

  • Rank
  • Casino
  • Bonus
  • Play
1
100% UP TO €777
2
100% UP TO €200
3
100% UP TO €500

Best Belgian Casino Sites in 2017

1
Casino777
100% UP TO €777
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2
GrandGames Casino
100% UP TO €200
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3
Golden Vegas Casino
100% UP TO €500
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A Gambling Heritage

It’s not just recently that the Belgian public have enjoyed the virtues of betting. Documents have been discovered which show that lotteries and rudimentary card games existed in the country as far back as the 1300’s. A national lottery was even introduced as early as the 15th century, and betting is very much part of the culture in this region of Europe.

Clearly then, Belgians took to online gambling in their millions when it first became available in 2002. The government responded in 2009 with the Gambling Act, which was designed to better regulate the online and offline gaming industries, and to protect vulnerable people from falling victim to addiction.

Going Offline to Get Online

The Belgian Gambling Act came into force in 2011. The key piece of legislation states that to obtain a licence to operate an online gambling service in the country, 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.

Limits, Fines and Other Restrictions

You would be correct in thinking that this wouldn’t represent a problem to the largest bookmakers and casino operators, but the Belgian government keeps a strict limit in place over the amount of licenses which can be issued.

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

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 (ISP’s) 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; and up to 25,000 Euros for individuals found to be using unlicensed websites. 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.

Belgium’s Blacklist

What these restrictions have achieved for the Belgian government is a very tight level of control over the online gaming industry, and it has been building up a blacklist of blocked sites which it regularly passes on to ISP’s. The blacklist is publically viewable and features over 70 companies.

There has been some opposition to this blacklist, with operators such as Bet-at-Home challenging the government's position. However, the claims never took off because the companies were effectively trying to do business in Belgium illegally in the first place.

There were also complaints from a group of bookmakers who suggested that the Belgian government’s treatment of Bwin CEO, Norbert Teufelberger, by placing the company on the blacklist, was intimidation. Bwin was initially placed on the blacklist as it was an online only service, but it has since circumnavigated the laws by entering into a partnership with land-based Casino Kursaal Oostende NV.

Freedom within Boundaries

There remains opposition to the blacklist, but there are far more pressing regulatory issues for the EU to contend with, and it seems unlikely to put pressure on the Belgian government to make changes at the moment, in what it must be said, is one of the best-regulated countries in Europe for online casinos and slots.

It’s true that Belgians can only bet with licensed establishments and licensed online operators, but there is more than enough choice to entertain the most demanding players. With no illegal sites able to operate in the country, there is also a level of protection for players should any dispute ever arise – something which many people don’t currently enjoy.

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