Online Gambling

Online Gambling in Belgium

Despite this tight control the Belgian government exercises over land-based gambling, Belgium has been very open to online gambling. It has been legal in Belgium since 2002, and is very popular indeed. A report from a few years ago suggested that tens of thousands of people throughout Belgium gamble online each month, spending millions of euros. These numbers are only expected to increase.

Today, Belgium does not allow foreign-based internet gambling sites to operate in Belgium. This is going to change, however, probably as soon as the first half of 2009. The EU has put pressure on the Belgian government to abolish this ban, and to open up online gambling to foreign interests.

The European nation of Belgium will soon be permitting online gambling operators on their soil and granting licenses. The new amendments, termed the New Belgian Gaming Legislation, were published last month and expected to go into effect next year.

And while operating in the beautiful country of Belgium, home of the European Union, may at first seem like a no-brainer, the issue could get complicated.

Once the changes come into effect, a group wishing to offer internet gambling services based out of Belgium will first be required to obtain a license for land-based gambling in Belgium. Furthermore, the computer servers that power the gambling site will have to be located on Belgian soil. This means that foreign operators will be required to become licensed operators of land-based gambling establishments in Belgium before they can offer their services online.

These requirements may seem reasonable, but it may prove difficult for foreign operators to obtain a license to offer internet gambling in Belgium. This is because a Royal Decree has placed a limit on the number of licenses available. Preference for these licenses will obviously be given to Belgian gambling groups.

About Belgium

Belgium, officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is located Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, as well as those of several other major international organizations such as North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometers (11,787 sq mi), and a population of about 10.8 million people.

Situated between Germany and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch-speakers, mostly Flemish, and the French-speakers, mostly Walloons, plus a small group of German-speakers.

Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region.

A small German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.