Belgium Moves to Require ID Checks for Gamblers

Posted on: October 5, 2023, 07:47h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2023, 11:05h.

In a move aimed at fortifying gaming regulations and intensifying efforts against underage gambling, Belgium’s Federal Council of Ministers has given the green light to new restrictions on land-based gambling. The approved measures will mandate electronic ID verification for all retail, leisure, and hospitality slot machines across Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia.

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in a parliamentary speech
Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in a parliamentary speech. The country is the latest to add mandatory ID verification for bettors. (Image: Agence France-Presse)

The decision to enforce these restrictions through a fast-track process underscores the urgency perceived by the council. They will be addressing the inadequacies of existing rules, particularly concerning retail and recreational establishments. The move, which the ministers approved last Friday, is similar to others recently appearing in other countries.

The Belgian Gambling Commission (BGC) is tasked with developing a comprehensive time line and providing technical guidance.

As Belgium strengthens its stance against the potential harms of gambling, these regulatory interventions aim to safeguard the vulnerable — particularly the youth — and create a more responsible and accountable gambling environment for all stakeholders involved. The emphasis on electronic ID verification and preventative messaging reflects a concerted effort to curb the adverse effects of excessive gambling while fostering a culture of responsible gaming.

Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium’s minister of justice, emphasized that the primary objective of this move is to combat gambling by minors and bolster responsible gambling measures.

“This is an important step in the fight against gambling addiction,” Quickenborne recently told the press. “We will no longer tolerate unchecked financial pain at the expense of people with addiction.”

Belgium’s Mandatory Preventative Messages

The BGC also recently issued a reminder to operators regarding new rules that order the inclusion of a “mandatory preventative message” in all their communications. In the reminder, the regulator stressed that this rule applies to future and existing communications.

The decree effectively prohibits all forms of gambling advertising, and compels operators to integrate the message “gambling is addictive” into any previous communications still accessible to consumers. This replaces the former tagline, “Please play in moderation.”

All forms of communications that consumers may come across must explicitly reference, the website of the Belgian gambling self-exclusion program.

Global Regulatory Changes

Several countries across the globe have also recently introduced new rules for bettors.

Denmark recently introduced a measure that requires IDs for sports bettors. In Australia, online bettors won’t be able to wager after September 2024 if they haven’t complied with mandatory anti-money laundering policies.

This past July, Belgium implemented a ban on gambling advertising, which effectively eliminated TV and radio ads and sports sponsorships.