Best Online Casinos in Belgium
Belgium is the part of the European Union, which sounds positive, but in fact, it can mean literally any situation with gambling. However, with Belgium, we are lucky. It manages to keep the golden medium; the Belgian gambling market is free and open, but strictly regulated. In fact, it is one of the most properly regulated markets in Europe, if not globally. UK online casino market is not so comprehensive, for example.
Now, if you prefer playing casino Belgium online games in the web, you are welcome. In Belgium, you will be able to play at high quality, safe, and state-licensed websites. Since the government has an impressive income from Belgium gambling taxes, they enable the operators to purchase quality software, and provide a truly entertaining experience to the local players.
However, there are two aspects you should be aware of. Firstly, all non-Belgian online casino gambling sites that do not have a local license are prohibited for access; even if they are not blocked yet, they will be as soon as the responsible authority finds out about them. Plus, the locals accessing these sites risk to be fined. If you want to learn more about Belgium gambling laws and current situation, keep reading.
Secondly, please keep in mind that Belg government decided that Belgium casino online bonuses are violating the law and definitions applicable to gambling, and that bonuses are actually more harmful for the players than useful. To be honest, this opinion is closer to truth than one might think. Anyways, the result of that is no bonuses allowed for Belg players. Even if you register at an online casino Belgium with local license and can allow you to play legally, most likely you won’t be eligible for the bonus of any kind.
Yet, the good news is that, until you are at licensed and legitimate sites, you can gamble as much as you want, without limits. So, check out the list of online casinos allowed in Belgium, make bets, and win real cash without leaving the house!
List of Online Casinos for players from Belgium
History of Gambling in Belgium
This may sound surprising, but in Belgium, the first documented cases on gambling date back to the beginning of the 14th century. These were card games, and in fact some of the games we now know as classic casino games were originated on the lands of modern Belgium.
Already in the 16th century, Belgium set up its first official lottery. This fact alone shows that, since the Middle Ages, this particular country was friendly to games of chance. Later, by the end of the 19th century, the first racecourse was built - Hippodrome Wellington - thus framing a foundation of passion for horse racing in the state.
Before the end of the 20th century, all gambling activities were viewed mostly as entertainment, and were not really much regulated. However, by the end of the 20th century, the government became aware that gambling is market, and, as a market segment, it requires control and regulation.
So, in 1999, they have passed the first Gaming act, and developed a system of licensing. In 2002, a National Lottery was set up, including online lottery. The same year, online gambling was announced legal. The following years brought even more improvement and modification in the niche, from offshore gambling to loot boxes in video games. In any case, Belgium, especially compared to certain countries - like online casino France - does a good job regulating gambling.
Current Situation on Gambling in Belgium
Currently, gambling in brick and mortar casinos, at different facilities, at racing courses, taking part in sports betting and lottery is totally legal, and anyone reaching the age of 18 or 21 (cases differ for different types of gambling) can do that. In other words, offline betting is free for access, and it is so properly regulated that players participating are totally safe to trust these venues with their money. It is the gambling operator who is in trouble if they violate the laws.
As for online gambling, there are nuances.
Firstly, a casino online Belgium can be granted Belgium license only if the operator has already received a license for offline gambling. in other words, only brands that provide land based services in Belgium, and comply with all the laws, can be issued an online license. This means that local players have access to fully legal, licensed, and safe web gambling platforms, where their data and rights are protected by the law.
There is no monopoly on Belg market, in contrast to come European countries; all foreign operators are welcome to request a license by the relevant authorities. However, online casinos without license are prohibited in Belgium.
Prohibition is actually applied in practice. The authorities actively block unlicensed offshore sites; in 2019 alone, over 168 online casinos were blacklisted and blocked for offering their service to Belg punters without license. Moreover, such sites are to pay huge fines to the government.
Also also - and this is super important - players who access offshore online casinos and make bets there, face penalties, as well. In addition, Belgs working for the government, are banned from playing online, at all.
So, rules and laws of gambling are strict in Belgium. However, this means that players actually do get the best and the safest service.
Laws for Gambling in Belgium
There are several main laws connected to gambling. They include:
- Federal Act of 7 May 1999 (The Gaming Act) - regulates games of chance and protects the players
- Federal Act of 31 December 1851 regarding lotteries (Lotteries Act)
- Federal Act of 19 April 2002 (National Lottery Act) - improves operation and management of the national Lottery.
While Belgium is part of the European Union, which means they should support free cross-border provision of services, in practice, the laws of the country prevent this. The corresponding authorities of the European Union have even addressed the European Commission on this issue. The point of the free trade is that European companies should be allowed to operate in the EU countries without additional restrictions.
However, Belg government plays it smart. It does not prevent the EU casinos from operation, it just requires a local license. There are several clear categories of licenses that are issued; online licenses are issued only to companies that already have an offline license. The number of licenses for every type is strictly defined, as well. Only when one company has its license expired, another company may try to put a request to get the license.
Currently, there are 9 licenses for brick and mortar casinos, 180 licenses for gaming arcades, and 34 licenses for sportsbooks.
Regulatory Authorities in Belgium
There is one main regulatory body in the country - Belgian Gambling Commission. It consists of a president of the Commission, and two representatives of each of the relevant ministries, which include:
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Economic Affairs
- Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Ministry for the National Lottery
- Ministry of Public Health
The Belgium Gambling Commission works to control the niche and make sure violations are persecuted. It also overviews the licenses and requests for license from companies.
Taxation Laws on Gambling in Belgium
Taxation in Belgium suggests that both businesses and players pay taxes. There are exclusions from the rule, but overall, the businesses pay from 11 to 15% tax on their gross income. Every type of license granted has its own nuances, as well.
As for players, they have to pay taxes, as well. Most often, the tax is already included into the sum of the bet. In case of lottery, the tax is withheld from the winnings by the organization that manages the lottery.
Yet, professional poker players are required to fill in a tax return, and pay tax on their winnings as part of their income tax.
Land Based Casinos in Belgium
As for today, there are nine land based casinos, 180 gaming arcades, and 34 land-based sportsbooks that function legally in the country. As soon as an operator has their license expired, another company can send a request to the Gambling Commission. However, until then, we cannot expect the number of venues to increase.
Meanwhile, let’s check out some of the most popular brick and mortar gambling houses in Belgium. Since the number of casinos will not increase in the nearest future, the casinos can rest assured that the competition will not grow in numbers. This means they try to compete in terms of quality and entertainment rather than lower bets and bigger bonuses. All this leads to really good services for the players.
Opened back in 2010, this venue offers 39 table games and 400 slots machines. Also, there are 10 poker tables. In addition to casino, there are restaurants in the facility, and a weekly Jazz Weekend, plus other events.
There are 12 table games, 211 slots machines, and two separate poker tables. You can have a nice meal in one of the restaurants, and enjoy evening entertainment program.
This facility offers 7 table games and 130 slots machines. There are dining areas, as well. Also, the casino holds gambling events on a regular basis, meaning you can always win an extra by simply visiting on a particular day.
Banking Options for Gambling in Belgium
Since all gambling is totally legal, you will have no problems with payment in Belgium. Betting is possible with cash, or via plastic cards, the most popular of which include:
In case you prefer online games of chance or games of skill, or you like to make bets in the web on sports or racing, you are welcome to use one of the popular online payment systems or e-wallets. In Belgium, the following are widely used:
- Bancontact/Mister Cash
Some of them are allowed for real money casinos, some are not. In many cases, you will find out that you are expected to deposit with one method and to withdraw to the other. Please learn more about payment methods available to you, in order to be on the safe side, and make informed choices on your payment methods.
Popular Cities in Belgium for Gambling
Due to strict limitations on the number of casino licenses, and perhaps some local limitations on the number of venues per certain area, currently, there are no cities that can boast more than one casino. These cities are:
If you are looking particularly for horse racing tracks, for sportsbooks, or for slots machines, you’d better find that out in your location separately. In Belgium, some betting activities like playing slots or bingo, can be available even in slamm coffee shops.
Facts About Belgium
Check out some fun facts on Belgium:
- the country is famous for its chocolate
- more than 220,000 tons of chocolate are produced here each year
- the first casino in Europe was opened in the city of Spa
- the first recorded lottery in the world was held in Belgium
- waffles are another famous product of Belgium
- Belgians actually invented french fries
- there are around 1000 original beers created in the country
- there is a special shape of glass for every brand of beer
- shopping is one of the favourite local pastimes
- Belgians make carpets of flowers, and this is already an art