Belgium raises legal gambling age to 21 and bans bonuses

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The Belgium Gaming Commission has announced a hike in the legal age for all forms of gambling from 18 to 21, effective September 1st, 2024. As reported in Gambling Industry News, this amendment is part of a series of revisions to the Gambling Act of 7/05/1999, published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

The major changes introduced as a part of this amendment are the prohibition of certain devices outlined in section 3.3 of the Act and the termination of multiple gaming licenses for a single website. Additionally, a comprehensive ban on gifts, bonuses, and free games has been enforced, along with the prohibition of advertising for games of chance.

Customers below the new minimum age limit who hold online gambling accounts must be provided with refunds, and any stakes made without proper age verification measures in place are also subject to refund.

The amendment also brings Belgium’s sports betting, bingo, and arcade regulations in line with the existing minimum age requirement for land-based casinos, ensuring uniformity across various gambling platforms. The decision to increase the legal gambling age and impose strict regulations reflects Belgium’s commitment to promoting responsible gambling practices and protecting vulnerable demographics, particularly young adults.

This amendment follows Belgium’s initial ban on gambling advertising implemented in July 2023. The prohibition of bonuses and free games aims to deter impulsive gambling behaviour often triggered by promotional offers, promoting a safer and more regulated gambling environment.

India also has similar laws prohibiting advertisements for illegal offshore betting and gambling. The government issued several advisories to OTTs and Cable Network platforms not to advertise these sites and companies.