Belgium – A royal decree introducing a new lower deposit limit for online gambling has been published in the Belgian government’s official gazette.

From October 20, the deposit limit for online gambling will be reduced from €500 to €200 a week per licensed website.

The original €500 limit was to be spread across all operators that players gambled with but the Belgian Gambling Commission interpreted the rule by applying it to individual operators. It’s been clarified that the new limit will apply per website and will be calculated on a rolling basis, counting the last seven days of a player’s activity.

Players may request that their deposit limit be lifted but operators must notify the Belgian regulator of the request and check with the National Bank that the player is not listed as being in default on its Central Credit Register. As long as the player is not listed, the deposit limit can be lifted three days after a request is made.

The BGC will monitor players whose deposit limits have been removed. Players can also request that their deposit limit be lowered. Operators must process such requests immediately.

Last month, Belgium’s Council of State upheld the Belgian Gambling Commission’s interpretation of the rules on deposit limits and other matters. The country’s supreme administrative court reviewed eleven rules introduced by Royal Decree in 2019, including the current deposit limit of €500 a week, a ban on bonuses, a ban on credit card use and minimum self-exclusion times.

Regarding the deposit limit, the royal decree states that it should apply across all operators that a customer gambles with and that a player may request permission from the regulator for the limit to be raised. However, the regulator currently applies the limit to individual operators only and players cannot raise it.

This is because the regulator says that to approve increases it needs to be able to check a player’s financial history, but the National Bank hasn’t decided yet whether such checks can be permitted. The Council of State ruled that the regulator’s approach was correct and that it cannot raise players’ deposit limits without being able to check their financial history.

The issue with bonuses arises because the Royal Decree introduced a ban but did not define bonuses. As a result, the Belgian Gambling Commission has opted for an open interpretation, taking it to cover everything from free spins to reduced risk and enhanced odds. Again the court agreed with the regulator, noting that the Royal Decree itself said the term should be “interpreted broadly”.

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