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New law about online gambling in Belgium

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by retlaw, Mar 27, 2009.

    Mar 27, 2009
  1. retlaw

    retlaw Meister Member

    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Earth
    I today read in the newspaper that there will be soon a new law for online gambling in Belgium.
    As far as I understand, only people who have a gambling license in the "real world" will be able to offer online gambling.
    Anyone knows more about it?
     
  2. Mar 27, 2009
  3. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Last I heard was around the middle of last year, when there were moves afoot to legalise online gambling in Belgium, hopefully by 2009....so your information could well be correct although I have not personally seen anything concrete on this so far.

    There were unconfirmed reports that draft regulations had been prepared with the national lottery first to go online.

    There was talk of stringent conditions that may even restrict licenses to reputable land casino operators in the EU, if I recall correctly.

    See also: http://www.casinomeister.com/news/j...UM-PREPARING-TO-EMBRACE-INTERNET-GAMBLING.php

    Did the report you read mention whether a legislative proposal had been presented to the Belgian parliament?
     
  4. Mar 27, 2009
  5. retlaw

    retlaw Meister Member

    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Earth
    Yes, there is a new law which will normally be approved by the Belgian parliament before summer.
    Illegal casino's will be banned from the internet by our providers.
    Seems they have a list of 25 illegal casino's who are active in Belgium, but they did not give the names yet.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Mar 28, 2009
  7. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Oh Dear! Hardly player protection. The Rogue pit has more casinos in it than this:rolleyes:

    Certainly, it's a start. The current problem with the UK system is that rogue casinos are still able to attract UK players by "sneaky" means, such as spam, snail mail from abroad, and even connivance with seemingly reputable websites. A specific blocking of these errant casinos really would dent their bottom line. Take Virtual group. Probably the biggest rogues, but they can STILL milk the naive and uneducated players. This would not be possible if access to their site was blocked, prefferably with a warning as to why.

    There is a downside, and this is CENSORSHIP. It is a step down a slippery slope, and once the precedent is set, who "draws the line" as to how far it can go. The USA would LOVE to have ISP's block ALL internet casinos, yet the EU is taking legal action at the WTO that this would breach trade agreements. The Belgian government could well find they are the subject of similar action from casinos they have decided to ban.

    Belgian players who are determined to play at banned casinos will still be able to do so, as like many US players, they will find a way. "illegal casinos" could do the "BoDog dance" and constantly switch domains, making it a logistical nightmare to enforce such a ban.
     
  8. Mar 30, 2009
  9. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Looks as if Sweden is contemplating a similar ISP blocking scheme - but the consultative process is generating a lot of flak against it:

    SWEDISH ONLINE GAMBLING BLOCKS UNDER DISCUSSION

    Should the Swedish government institute ISP blocks on Internet gambling websites?


    It didn't work in Italy, and it is creating major waves of protest in Australia at present - the prospect of governments forcing Internet Service Providers to impose blocks censoring online gambling websites.

    Sweden is the latest country to consider the censorship option, reports The Stockholm News this weekend. The newspaper reveals that a government report suggesting the blocks is at present undergoing a public consultative process...and picking up plenty of flak as it does so.

    With Wednesday April 1st as the deadline, the criticism is likely to escalate, the newspaper reports. By then, regional authorities, local governments, relevant organisations and private interests will have all expressed views on how Internet gambling should be regulated going forward in a country already notorious for its state-sponsored gambling monopolistic system.

    The main objections to the proposal are that it constitutes blatant censorship and is offensive to the democratic principle of freedom of speech.

    The proposal is one of many in the government report on the future of Swedish gambling, and suggests that a Swedish government agency should have sole responsibility to decide what is and is not acceptable in terms of Internet content, and issue orders for ISPs to block specific websites.

    It is not at this stage known if this alternative is to be operated under the cloak of secrecy as has been the recent case in Australia and its Australian Media and Communications Authority trials.

    Major ISPs such as Bahnhof have already condemned the proposal as rank censorship, and Jon Karlung of the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper has editorially posed the question: "Is it really a good idea for the Swedish state to decide to what Internet destinations its citizens may have access?"

    In practice, several Swedish ISPs voluntarily block internet sites that depict child pornography, but there is no state filtering, and Karlung believes this is an important issue. Forcing ISPs to block Internet content would be the first state censorship in history, he points out.

    Government agencies are also critical of the proposal. The Swedish Post and Telecommunications Agency, the High Courts and the Agency for Administrative development have issues concerning the blocking of Internet access. Attention is drawn in recent responses to the fact that it is not presently illegal to visit the Internet sites of foreign gambling companies, therefore why should legal accessibility be prevented by the government?

    The High Courts in the counties of Skne and Blekinge have characterised the proposal as disproportional and point to the risk that one kind of state filtering of Internet access can lead to an unwelcome expansion of state censorship authority to other industries or interests on the Web.

    What really must be taken into account is that there are no similar regulations in any other area of Swedish law, the courts write in their response to the government report.

    In similar vein, the Agency for Administrative Development opined that the proposal will mean a ban for Swedish citizens to use parts of the Internet and recommended wider and deeper discussion on the possible consequences of the proposal.

    The Ministry of Finance, which commissioned the report, has declined to make any comments until the consultative phase has been completed, but Finance Minister Anders Borg is on prior record as saying that blocking Internet access may be going "...a little bit too far and to have questioned the proportionality of the concept.

    On the other side of the discussion, Social Democratic spokesperson Lars Wegendal has said that his party supports the idea of a state filter on foreign online gambling sites.
     
  10. Mar 30, 2009
  11. Rhyzz

    Rhyzz Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Online Gaming
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I really do have no idea how governments can get away with even proposing stuff like this. Who the hell are the government to say what the public can and cannot spend their money on? If they have a beef with the businesses then do something about that but don't stop people spending money on a hobby.

    The US have gotten away with it for a few years now but how much longer can they expect to have the safe port act in place? I'll give it 12 months before Obama, a seemingly decent president (for once) sees that stopping people enjoying their money isn't the answer, but a tax from a multi trillion dollar, global business is. Think of how many jobs would be created and the billions paid in tax would benefit the economy...
     
  12. Mar 30, 2009
  13. slotheadlizard

    slotheadlizard Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Movie mercandiser/Researcher
    Location:
    The Nati USA
    Belgum

    I agree with you. Hate to see any government dictate how one's money is or is not spent.
     
  14. Mar 30, 2009
  15. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Unfortunately, governments increasingly seem to feel that they have the right to interfere in the private lives of their citizens....and throw taxpayers' cash around with abandon in the process.

    With big business financing political careers and lobbying for self-interested and often protectionist laws, the man in the street is all too frequently sidelined instead of being the main focus of the state in terms of freedom and security.

    Every now and then the politicians push things too far and the public backlash is sufficiently harsh and pervasive to make them back off.

    Hopefully that is what may be happening in Australia at present, but it's early days still so who knows how that will pan out.
     
  16. Mar 30, 2009
  17. Tengil

    Tengil Senior Member

    Occupation:
    -
    Location:
    Finland
    If I look at this as an economist I understand why governments would like to ban online gambling. If B&M casinos already fails the cost-benefit ratio by big numbers the online casinos fares much worse.
    Worth reading: You must register/login in order to see the link.
    and You must register/login in order to see the link.

    But people have always gambled and always will and prohibition doesnt work. So what to do? Taxation (regulation) wouldnt work in itself as there would be "black markets" (unregulated) where the promos and payouts would be better.

    There could be one way. If lets say casino X pays taxes to country Y on the profits generated by players from that country then the players would get their winnings taxfree. And would have to pay tax on winnings from unregulated casinos. But how could you track the winnings? And how high would the Pigouvian tax be? And currently in EU all winnings from EEA sites are taxfree so it would fail on that point.

    I dont see that there will ever be any proper regulation. There are too many problems to tackle. How high would the tax be (also the Pigouvian)? How to get all countries to implement the same standards? How to deal with the black market problem (by far the biggest problem)?
     
  18. Jan 2, 2011
  19. retlaw

    retlaw Meister Member

    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Earth
    Today I heared that the new law about online gambling in Belgium is effective since yesterday( 01.01.2011).
    Anyone knows what will be the impact for Belgian players?
     
  20. Jan 3, 2011
  21. felicie

    felicie Dormant account

    Occupation:
    self employed
    Location:
    somewhere else
    This one maybe? :)

    Controversial New Gambling Legislation In Belgium

    1 September 2010
    Print Version

    On 10 January 2010 the Belgian government adopted a new Gambling Act. Even though the new Gambling Act is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2011, it has caused a lot of controversy and is now the subject of a complaint to the European Commission.

    The scope of the former Gambling Act (the Act of 7 May 1999 on Games of Chance, Gambling Establishments and the Protection of Players) is being extended to include games of chance offered through the use of information society tools (including the Internet), media games and betting. In some ways following the lead of other Member States, the new Gambling Act provides for a system of licences for both offline and online betting. The lotteries are not affected by the new Gambling Act, and remain the monopoly of the state-owned incumbent, La Loterie Nationale.

    Under the new Gambling Act, the operation of games of chance and betting is (still) principally prohibited, but licensing systems provide for exceptions. The new Gambling Act imposes a mandatory licensing system for all kinds of games of chance (whether provided offline or online), to be controlled by the Belgian Games of Chance Commission.

    In order to be able to offer online games of chance, the new Gambling Act requires operators from other Member States (i) to hold a licence for land-based gambling operations in Belgium and (ii) to (re)locate their servers in a permanent establishment within the Belgian territory. This means that foreign operators, duly licensed and operating from other Member States, will be required to become licensed operators of land-based gambling establishments in Belgium before they can offer their services online. In addition, games of chance offered online must be of the same type as those offered offline. Finally, the new Gambling Act provides for a possible limitation by Royal Decree of the maximum number of land-based licences.

    The new Gambling Act provides criminal penalties and/or administrative sanctions for any person involved in illegal games of chance. This applies not only to the operator or the person who facilitates the operation, whether through advertising or by recruiting players, but also to the actual participants in illegal games of chance.

    In a move that is perceived by many as an attempt to attract online gambling business to its region, the Walloon Government recently announced a flat 11% tax rate for online gambling. The two other Belgian Regional Governments are yet to adopt a position.

    In March 2009 the Belgian government notified the draft Gambling Act to the European Commission pursuant to Directive 98/34/EC on Technical Standards and Regulations. In June 2009 the European Commission rendered a detailed opinion on the draft Gambling Act whereby it expressed concerns mainly on two issues: (i) the fact that the Act does not take into consideration the conditions previously fulfilled by EU-based online gambling websites when applying for an online gambling licence in their home Member State; and (ii) the requirement for online gambling websites to have a fixed establishment in Belgium. These issues raise concerns more particularly in the context of the free movement of services (Article 56 TFEU) and the freedom of establishment (Article 49 TFEU).

    Notwithstanding the European Commission’s objections, the Gambling Act has been passed without any substantial amendments as compared to the first draft. According to the Belgian government, the restrictions on both the free movement of services and the freedom of establishment contained in the Gambling Act can be justified by mandatory requirements of consumer protection and the fight against fraud. On 23 June 2010 the Remote Gambling Association and the European Gaming and Betting Association lodged a joint complaint to the European Commission, claiming that the new Gambling Act is not compliant with EU law. This complaint calls on the Commission to open a formal infringement procedure against the Belgian government over the new Gambling Act.

    Koen Platteau (Partner), Olswang Brussels This email is not visible to you.
     
    2 people like this.

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