Belgium Introduces Bill to Raise Minimum Online Gambling Age
About a month ago, it was learned that some Belgian politicians are set to introduce legislation that would try and reduce the number of gambling advertisements to be shown on local television. Now, we’re hearing about a separate bill that will attempt to raise the minimum age for internet gambling.
Belgium’s Christian Democratic and Flemish party recently introduced a bill that would raise the minimum online gambling age from 18 to 21 years of age. Presently, online sports gambling and national lottery customers must be at least 18. Online casinos only accept patrons aged 21 or older currently.
Up to 21
If the legislation goes through the Federal Parliament of Belgium, the current law will be tweaked. The bill’s purpose is to try and limit the popularity of online gambling among young people and vulnerable members of the country’s population.
Belgium officially legalized some games of chance back in 1999 when the Betting and Gaming Act was passed. It was amended in 2010 in an attempt to respond to a demand for more regulations on gaming. Belgium then introduced the framework for a new amendment that made it possible for international regulators to apply for a gaming license. That went into effect on New Year’s Day 2011.
The amendment seems to have had a positive effect on the local Belgian gaming industry and bettors online, as well. The Belgian Gaming Commission previously said that only about 15% of all online gambling customers prefer to play on unregulated websites. Players may face heavy fines if it is discovered they are playing on unauthorized sites.
The new minimum gambling age proposal was put forth because there is a growing interest in online gambling among teenagers. Recent studies have shown that 1-in-5 people between the ages of 17 and 18 have gambled online. Sports betting has been particularly popular among that age group.
The Christian Democratic and Flemish party believe that measures must be taken in order to prevent gambling addiction and irresponsible gambling. Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens even called for a ban on gambling ads airing before 8 pm. If that effort garners enough support to become law it will prohibit gambling ads from being broadcast during live sports television broadcasts.
Belgian gambling operators are currently urged to add a problem gambling warning to their advertisements. Geens wants to make the warnings mandatory.
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