Belgium has an interesting take on online gambling, one that differs much in comparison to how other European nations choose to tackle this subject. Whereas most states embrace or reject online gambling altogether, Belgium has different ideas. All forms of gambling are allowed in the country, however, there are heavy regulations imposed on betting companies which have to be followed to the letter. Sports betting is one of the permitted types of gambling featured in the country and customers have access to a decent range of sportsbooks. However, the legalities of the situation may not be clear to all. For your convenience, we have gathered the most important information regarding online betting in Belgium and have included it below in an easy to understand manner.
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Legalities of Online Sports Betting in Belgium
Historical Betting Overview
Belgium has a long history with gambling dating back to the 19th century, as indicated by the Lotteries Act of 1851. Modern online gambling, on the other hand, has been unregulated for the most part and already existing regulations were lax, at best. This was during a period where the online betting scene in Belgium was taking off and many different providers were moving into the market. For better or for worse, Belgian punters had access to a wide range of platforms to bet on. It was not until the Gaming Act of 2011, which went into effect on 1 January 2011, that the online betting market saw true regulations. In fact, this piece of legislation introduced rules covering just about every aspect of the online gambling scene and brought proper conduct to the Belgian online gambling industry. However, the strict regulations made it impossible for some providers to operate within the country legally and the market was reduced to a limited number of licensed entities.
Odds Format in Belgium
There are three main odds types in the current sports betting scene – decimal, fractional and American. Fractional odds are mostly used at Irish and UK betting websites, while American odds are featured at US sportsbooks. Belgium websites, on the other hand, will display the decimal format, by default. This is the trend at most European betting sites. Decimal odds are presented as such:
Betting Options: 1.50
What this tells us is that for every $100 that we wager, we stand to win $50 in profit, for a net total of $150 after the bet is settled. Unlike fractional odds, the decimal format represents the total amount that will be added to your bankroll after the sports event concludes. Decimal odds are useful in the sense that very little multiplication is required to read them properly, making them accessible to just about everyone.
Belgium Betting Laws and Legislation
With the introduction of the Gaming Act of 2011, the Belgian online betting industry saw strict and precise regulations that all operators have to follow. Moreover, to offer its services a betting company first has to be licensed by the Belgium Gaming Commission. This regulatory institution has licenses for all the different betting types. Sports betting is classified with an F-type license and there are three different types. An F1 license permits a person to organize bets, whereas entities that accept wagers need to acquire an F2 license. An F+ license is required to accept bets over the Internet and it is tied to an F2 license. All F-style licenses last for 9 years before they have to be renewed.
A holder of an F-style license has to fulfil several requirements before the license is issued. For one, companies need to be incorporated under Belgian law or other EU member states. Furthermore, they have to prove their tax liabilities are satisfied and showcase their financial capacity. Not only that but for the sake of transparency, all persons involved, including shareholders, need to have their identities revealed.
As far as taxation is concerned, all online bets are taxed 11% on the net profit. It is worth pointing out that gambling debts to unlicensed operators are not enforceable. However, those to licensed ones are.
Belgium Betting Restrictions
When it comes to restrictions, Belgian gambling laws can be quite draconian in certain aspects. Starting off with the lightest restriction type, the minimum gambling age in Belgium is 18 years old. This is the standard for most forms of betting in Belgium, with the exception of casino gambling where the minimum age starts at 21 years old.
But that is only the start. The gambling authorities in Belgium have determined that only a limited number of gambling licenses can be issued overall. This means that a smaller number of operators can offer their services to a Belgian customer base at any time. For F1 license holders, the limit is 34, while F2 licensees cannot exceed 60.
Additionally, in order to provide online betting in Belgium, the company needs to run land-based establishments. Effectively, this blocks most international betting platforms from working in Belgium. Moreover, the Belgium government will prosecute all companies that operate without a licence, while Belgian residents who gamble at unlicensed platforms can be fined up to €25,000.
Online Betting Regulatory Body in Belgium
All gambling in Belgium is regulated by the Belgium Gaming Commission. This government body was established in 1999 and it oversees all forms of betting in the country, including casino gaming, poker, bingo, horse racing betting, fantasy betting, lotteries, skill games, and of course, sports betting.
The BGC imposes strict rules that operators have to follow and makes sure that the companies eligible for licensing are in line with regulations. Specifically, the BGC requires the privacy of punters to be protected, prohibits the exploitation of vulnerable customers, and ensures that punters are paid accordingly, among others.
The Belgium Gaming Commission has done a great job at enforcing all laws and regulations to ensure that customers are treated fairly. Moreover, this institution is quite thorough when vetting potential licensing candidates to verify their integrity and legitimacy.
Belgium Online Betting Bonuses
There are plenty of benefits to betting at Belgian online sportsbooks and among the major ones, we count promotions and bonuses. Since most bookmaker websites offer similar odds and betting markets, a great way to choose one over another is to look at the promotions they offer. These come in several different forms and each will provide you with a different form of value.
A common promotion type is the deposit bonus. Bookmaker websites will match your deposit up to a certain amount and add it to your balance as bonus funds. These can be used to place bets on different sports events and once you meet the turnover requirement, you will get to cash it in. This has to be on specific odds or higher in most cases and the turnover will usually be anywhere between 4 to 8 times the bonus value.
Alternatively, free bets are also another popular bonus type at modern online sportsbooks. The betting website will allow you to place a wager with a specific value at no cost to you. If bet losses, your bankroll will not suffer. However, if it wins, you get to take the profit from it. Some sportsbooks may ask you to fulfil a turnover requirement, while others may be more liberal in their terms.
Odds boosts are always great to have since they not only increase your winnings but also come with very few restrictions. These can be applied on traditional bets or parlays, where each additional leg adds an extra 1% to your profits. This bonus type comes with the lowest risk factor making them ideal for everyone.
Mobile Betting in Belgium
Mobile betting is becoming ever more popular with smartphones and tablets getting so prevalent in everyday life. So much so, that many people are forgoing the desktop sportsbooks altogether. Bookmaker websites have caught onto this trend and are looking to deliver the best possible mobile experience to their customers. Practically, every betting website worth its salt will offer a mobile version of its service.
You will quickly learn that mobile betting is just as good as doing it on a desktop platform or in person at a bookmaker shop. The mobile sportsbooks are easily accessible from every mobile device and one can easily set up an account. As soon as you are ready to bet, you will notice that you have full access to all the features of the platform. This includes all supported betting markets, regular promotions and perhaps even exclusive mobile ones, customer support, banking solutions and just about anything else you can think of.
The major brands have put in considerable effort to make sure that their customers can easily access their respective mobile platforms and that the overall experience is enjoyable. We are certain that if you are a fan of mobile betting, the modern online betting scene has much to offer you.
Popular Betting Banking Methods in Belgium
Online gambling comes with certain peculiarities not featured in its brick and mortar counterpart. One such is an inability to use physical cash to place bets, instead, you will have to rely on an online payment solution to get your money into your bankroll. These are available in several different forms, each offering something different.
At modern online sportsbooks, credit cards are always an option. Practically all bookmaker websites accept Visa and MasterCard, while some will also support the likes of Maestro, Amex, or Diners Club. Credit card transactions are instant, allowing you to immediately start betting. Moreover, withdrawals are also possible and can take several business days to process.
If credit cards are not for you, then consider the eWallets supported by the industry. Specifically, these include Skrill and Neteller, which are accepted at a universal basis, as well as, PayPal, EntroPay, ecoPayz, and others. The main benefits of eWallets include instant deposits and withdrawals, enhanced privacy and overall convenience.
The online betting scene also supports great alternatives to these two types. Prepaid cards are great for some customers, though there are detriments, such as an inability for withdrawals. Online banking is also quite useful if your bank works with the supported service. Overall, you will have a slew of banking options at your disposal whenever you sign up at Belgian betting websites.
Belgium Betting Sites FAQ
Is identity verification required at Belgian betting sites?
Verifying one’s identity is a mandatory process at all reputable sportsbooks, not just Belgian ones. It is required by the regulatory authority to ensure that all participants are eligible to gamble at that particular platform. It is used to weed out all underage persons and those in non-supported jurisdictions. Moreover, identity verification is also necessary for tax purposes.
In case of a dispute who can I turn to?
If you are ever in a disagreement with a betting site, you can always reach out to the appropriate authorities. In the case of Belgian websites, this is the Belgium Gaming Commission. This institution has the last say where disputes are concerned and it will ensure that all regulations and laws are applied rightfully.
Will sportsbooks honor promotion terms?
Strictly speaking, the sportsbook will abide by the terms of the promotion but you will also be held to the same standard. It is important to read the rules of the bonus before you do anything to understand what is required of you and how to go about doing it. It is often the case that gamblers will not read the terms of a promotional offer and have their bonus seized as a result of breaking the rules.
Can I register at multiple betting websites at the same time?
There is nothing stopping you from opening accounts with multiple providers at once. In fact, this is one way to get the best odds possible for specific sports events. However, what is often not allowed is holding multiple accounts with the same betting site. In such cases, this can be considered abuse which will result in a ban and your bankroll being returned to you.
Why would sportsbook reject payments?
There are a plethora of reasons why this could happen, ranging from fault with the payment provider, incorrect payment information, and others. It is important that all your banking information matches your personal data, as indicated on your ID or driver’s license.