Antwerp Police Under Investigation for Illegal Gambling
Belgium’s Gaming Commission is investigating some members of the Antwerp police force after officers were accused of using stolen identities in order to gamble at local casinos and over the internet. Belgian law enforcement officers are banned from engaging in any form of gambling. There is even a database with the officers’ registration numbers designed to prevent officers from engaging in gambling activities.
Last week, it was reported that several officers in the Antwerp Local Police Service have been investigated due to suspicion of playing at local casinos as well as logging on to betting websites in order to place wagers. The policemen have been accused of using stolen identities in an attempt to gamble anonymously.
Authorities have contacted the Belgian Gaming Commission in order to help address the matter at hand. The Commission has publicly stated that it has already launched an investigation and that there are multiple people under scrutiny. The BGC’s Director, Peter Naessens, told local media that, in addition to playing for recreation, there is evidence to suggest that this is actually a large-scale operation.
Naessens said that large amounts of money have been gambled by those under investigation, even amounts that exceed the average monthly wage. It also seems as though Antwerp police aren’t the only ones in on the potential scandal.
Could Be Broader Than Originally Thought
The Belgian Gaming Commission has also said that it does not have the authority to investigate the entire Belgian police force when it comes to potential gambling. The Commission does not have the manpower nor the financial means to conduct an investigation of such a large scope.
Belgian lawmakers announced earlier in the year that they plan to cut down on the growth of the local gambling industry, and they will attempt to prevent the industry from targeting vulnerable customers. In July, Belgium’s Christian Democratic and Flemish Party introduced a bill that would raise the minimum online gambling age from 18 to 21.
Current Belgian Laws
Online lottery and sports betting customers must be at least 18 to play as of now. The minimum age for online casino gambling is currently 21.
Another member of the aforementioned political party introduced a bill that would implement cubs to the way gambling services are allowed to advertise on television within Belgium’s borders. The measure says that gambling-related advertisements would be banned from being broadcast before 8:00 pm and during live sporting events during the day.
Belgium regulated its gambling market in 1999 with the Betting and Gaming Act. The bill was amended in 2010 to include online casino and betting services. One year later, Belgium opened its doors to regulated services from operators from outside the country.
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