Most of the definitions are provided for in the Act of 7 May 1999 on games of chance, betting, gaming establishments and the protection of players (the Act on games of chance), as amended in 2010 and implemented by multiple royal decrees.
Games of chance are defined in Article 2 of the Act as any game by which a stake of any kind is committed, the consequence of which is either loss of the stake by at least one of the players or a gain of any kind in favour of at least one of the players, or organisers of the game and in which chance is a factor, even if only ancillary, for the conduct of the game, or for determining the winner or his or her gains. It follows from case law from the Council of State that games played in a social network whereby players can pay to receive additional play money are also considered games of chance, even if the player cannot win money in them.2
Certain games of chance under the definition laid down in Article 2 above also benefit from specific definitions. This is the case for betting (or ‘bet’), fixed-odds betting and mutual betting. Betting is defined in general terms as game of chance where each player pays a stake and that results in gain or loss that is not dependent on the acts of the player but on the occurrence of uncertain events that occur without intervention of the players. Fixed-odds betting refers to a bet where the player bets on the result of a particular fact and where the amount of the winnings is determined depending on certain fixed or conventional odds, and where the organiser is personally liable for paying the amount of the gain to the players. Pool betting is defined as a bet where an organiser acts as intermediary between the different players who play against each other, where the stakes are pooled and distributed among the winners, after deduction of a percentage meant for paying the taxes on games and bets, to cover the organisation costs and a profit margin. Additionally, the Belgian Gaming Commission issued a notice explaining that spread betting (without benefiting from a specific definition under the Act on games of chance or any royal decrees) qualifies as betting as outlined above.3
All games and activities that fall under the definition provided for in the Act on games of chance qualify as gambling activities subject to either a licensing regime or a strict prohibition.
In general, poker and other card games, dice games, slot and other types of gaming machines as well as other table games offered within casinos, gaming halls or betting shops fall within the definition of a game of chance and are subject to the rules set out by the Act on games of chance and its implementing royal decrees.
Lotteries are defined in broad terms in Article 301 of the Belgian Penal Code as any operation provided to the public and aimed at providing winnings based on chance. However, it is commonly agreed that ‘lotteries’ refer to the games provided by the National Lottery operator under the Act of 19 April 2002 on the rationalisation of the functioning and management of the National Lottery (the National Lottery Act) and its implementing royal decrees defining the rules for all types of lottery game. From a general perspective, lottery games refer to lottery draw-games, such as Lotto games and Bingo, as well as to the lottery game coordinated among multiple lottery operators from the EU (i.e., EuroMillions), and to scratch cards.
Finally, it must be stated that binary options are defined as unconventional financial instruments that predict whether the market price of the underlying asset (e.g., shares, resources, inflation, interest decisions) will increase or decrease. The Gaming Commission stated that although such instruments could meet the criteria to qualify as games of chance, under Belgian law they are treated as financial instruments and subject to the related regulations.4
Moreover, to date, Belgian law neither defines nor qualifies (as games of chance) fantasy sports and social gaming.
ii Gambling policy
Belgian gambling policy is based on two pillars.
The first pillar is composed of the monopoly regime for public lotteries offered by the state-owned National Lottery operator (with small exceptions for charity lotteries and raffles that receive a prior authorisation and are subject to limitations).
The second pillar is based on a prohibition of all activities that qualify as games of chance under Article 2 of the Act, unless the operator has obtained a licence granted by the Belgian Gaming Commission.5
As regards online gambling, the National Lottery is authorised to provide its lottery games online under the National Lottery Act, while any other games of chance may be offered online provided that operators hold the required licences pursuant to the Act on games of chance.
Belgium carries out a regime of controlled expansion6 in order to attract players towards a safe and regulated gambling market, through the establishment of a monopoly and the granting of a limited number of licences.
iii State control and private enterprise
As outlined in subsection ii, supra, all public lottery games (offline and online) may only be offered by the National Lottery operator (i.e., a public undertaking fully owned by the state and subject to the direct control of the government).
The operation of other games of chance is open to competition through the attribution of a limited number of licences.
iv Territorial issues
Games of chance are regulated and licensed at federal level.
The competence granted to municipal authorities is limited to their approval for the establishment and operation of new land-based casinos7 and gaming halls,8 within the perimeters granted to these authorities by the Act on games of chance.
v Offshore gambling
The Belgian Gaming Commission is competent to monitor illegal gambling in Belgium and to take subsequent action.9 It adopts a stringent approach in relation to illegal offshore gambling operators directing their activities to Belgian residents.
The powers of the Gaming Commission are very broad. It can issue warnings against illegal operators but also issue administrative fines.10 In first instance, however, the Gaming Commission will not act as prosecuting authority but will only note infringements and transfer the file to the public prosecutor. If the latter takes action on the basis of the file handed to him or her, the illegal operator may be subject of criminal prosecution (see Section III.ii, infra). Several international operators have already been sanctioned on that basis.
The Gaming Commission also has a mechanism in place to prevent Belgian residents from accessing illegal (offshore) gambling websites. This mechanism involves the drafting of a blacklist which is available on the Gaming Commission website. This blacklist includes all websites found by the Gaming Commission that offer gambling to Belgian residents without the required licence. Through a cooperation between the Gaming Commission, the special police IT-crime unit and internet service providers (ISPs),11 the Gaming Commission informs the police of the name and details of the illegal websites; those data are then transferred to the ISP that will block the access to the website. The website will then be inaccessible to Belgian residents and will display a special webpage with the different logos of the enforcement authorities stating that the website is no longer accessible owing to infringement of Belgian law. This system has been contested by some remote gambling operators before different courts. Rulings in those cases were unanimously in favour of the government.12
II LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
i Legislation and jurisprudence
The legal and regulatory framework is essentially built around the two pillars of the gambling policy: one set of rules applies to lotteries and another to games of chance (in the strict sense of the word).
Games of chance are regulated by the Act on games of chance, which is further implemented by a number of Royal decrees.13 The Gaming Commission also issues notes in which policy standpoints or other types of clarifications that it deems necessary are communicated.
Lotteries fall outside of the scope of the Act on games of chance. The National Lottery holds a monopoly for public lotteries, and this is regulated by a specific law.14 In addition, each game of the National Lottery is regulated by a specific Royal decree. The National Lottery is also subject to a management agreement with the Belgian state.15 Other charity lotteries offered by non-profit organisations are licensed under an old and succinct law.16
ii The regulator
The Belgian lottery and private gambling sector are governed in separate ways.
The sector of games of chance is regulated by the Belgian Gaming Commission, which resorts under the Ministry of Justice. The Commission itself is composed of representatives of various Ministers (most notably Justice, Finance, Public Health, Economic Affairs, Interior Affairs), and in general meets once per month. The gaming commission also comprises a secretariat, which runs the day-to-day activities of control and that advises the commissioners. The Gaming Commission as such is established by Chapter II of the Act on games of chance and is defined as ‘an advisory, decision-making and regulatory body in respect of games of chance’.
Second, the National Lottery operator (and its national lottery games) is supervised by the government through the competent Minister, who has direct control through two government commissioners. They are competent to assess the compliance of the National Lottery’s activities and operation with the applicable laws, its obligations of public service, its by-laws and the management agreement concluded with the Belgian state. Moreover, both commissioners attend all the meetings of the National Lottery operator’s board of directors and executive committee in an advisory capacity. The commissioners hold inspection and monitoring powers allowing the government to directly control the national lottery operator.17
iii Remote and land-based gambling
Before the entry into force of the Act of 10 January 2010 that amended the Act on games of chance to regulate all types of games of chance, including online gambling, only the National Lottery operator was allowed to offer its games online. At that time, the Constitutional Court found that the particular situation of the National Lottery company regarding the provision of its activities online was in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, considering, among other things, the characteristics of the operator and its missions of public service.18
However, with the entry into force of the newly amended Act on games of chance in January 2011, all games of chance, the operation of which is allowed under the Act, can be offered online. Nonetheless, the mere fact that operators are duly licensed to provide games of chance offline is not sufficient. The same operators have to apply for and be granted an online gambling licence, corresponding to their offline gambling licence (qualified as ‘plus licence’) to provide online games of the same nature as their authorised land-based activities.
In general, all games of chance are subject to specific rules in addition to the rules already applicable to their offline equivalent. Moreover, specific rules are also in place, such as a specific solvency ratio of 40 per cent for operators of online gambling under the Royal Decree of 21 June 2011,19 as well as distinct security and technical requirements. The Gaming Commission has in addition issued a number of information notes.
iv Land-based gambling
The Act on games of chance defines four categories of gambling premises (the operation of which is subject to the prior granting of a specific and distinct licence).
Class I venues, or casinos, are subject to the prior granting of an ‘A licence’ (duration of 15 years in principle – renewable – but potentially shorter if the (remaining) concession duration for the casino is shorter). Those venues are allowed to offer games of chance, automatic or not, in addition to sociocultural events. The number of casinos is strictly limited to nine by the Act on games of chance and the municipalities where those casinos may be operated are enumerated in the Act.20 No casinos can be operated in other locations unless the law was first amended to include a new location.
Class II venues, or gaming halls, are subject to the granting of a ‘B licence’ (duration of nine years, renewable). Those venues are only allowed to offer automatic games of chance. They are gaming establishments with only gaming machines (no table games) but without slot machines, which can only be placed in casinos. Moreover, their number is strictly limited to 180 throughout the country. Finally, gaming halls must not be located close to hospitals, prisons, schools, churches and other religious temples or places where young people regularly meet.
Class III premises refer to pubs and bars, and require a ‘C licence’ to operate a maximum of two gaming machines (low-scale gaming machines, e.g., Bingo-type gaming machines). Duration of the C licence is five years and is renewable.
Class IV venues are betting shops the purpose of which is exclusively to engage bets. Betting shops may either be fixed (i.e., permanent venue) or mobile (i.e., temporary betting shop operated at the occasion of a specific sporting events, at the place of the event and for its duration only). The operation of betting shops requires an ‘F2 licence’ (i.e. a bookmaker licence allowing to take bets on behalf of a betting organiser). F2 licences have a duration of three years and are renewable. However, F2 licensees have the obligation to take bets on behalf of a betting organiser (i.e., a F1 licence holder). F1 licences are required to organise betting activities and are granted for periods of nine years, and are renewable. The number of betting organisers (hence F1 licences) is limited to 34. In addition, the number of fixed betting shops is limited to 1,000, and mobile betting shops to 60.21 Moreover, the distance between each betting shop operated after 1 January 2011 must be 1,000 metres (door-to-door walking distance). However, this rule does not apply to betting shops in operation before that date and that have never discontinued their operation since then.22 F2 licences can also be granted to press shops, which can then offer betting as an ancillary activity.
All games provided by the National Lottery company (i.e., lottery games and sports betting) can be offered via its retail agents who concluded retail agreements with the National Lottery. However, in order to offer betting on behalf of the National Lottery, its agents must hold the required F2 licence. Finally, there is no limitation on the number of retailers for the National Lottery; nevertheless, the operator must ensure a reasonable cover of the whole Belgian territory, without presenting an offer regarded as excessive, in order not to infringe the objectives pursued by the controlled expansion policy (namely, player protection, fight against addiction, fight against fraud).23
v Remote gambling
First, online public lottery games, like land-based lottery games, fall under the monopoly of the National Lottery and therefore cannot be offered by any other operator. Second, as regards other games of chance allowed under the Act on games of chance, a land-based presence is required in order to be allowed to provide games of chance online (through ‘information society instruments’ to be precise24). Indeed, only land-based licensees may apply for online gambling licences (namely, A+ licence – online casino games; B+ licence – online gaming machines; and F1+ licence – online betting). Online licences only authorise operators to provide, via information society means, games of the same nature as the games they are allowed to offer based on their land-based licences. The ‘plus licences’ have the same duration as their related land-based licences.
In addition, Article 43/8 of the Act on games of chance requires that the servers of Belgian gaming are located in a permanent establishment located in Belgium. This rule is applied in conformity with the EU case law and in practice it is therefore only required that certain data are stored on the Belgian server (for control purposes), and that the gaming website can be taken offline through the Belgian server (for sanctioning purposes).
vi Ancillary matters
The provision, renting, selling, putting at disposal, import and export, production or any services of reparation and maintenance of gambling equipment require the possession of a specific licence granted by the Gaming Commission (i.e., the E licence). This licence is granted for renewable periods of 10 years. Furthermore, any equipment put on the market or supplied to an authorised operator must also receive a certification from the services of the Gaming Commission or another accredited body.25 It is important to note that Article 27 of the Act on games of chance strictly prohibits cumulating any gambling licences (required to operate, e.g., a casino, a gaming hall or a betting shop) with an E licence, either directly or indirectly (by means of subsidiaries or branches).26
Furthermore, people working in a casino, gaming hall or a betting shop must hold a personal D licence. This type of licence is granted by the Gaming Commission for an undefined duration.
Directors or persons who occupy managing or executive positions of a gambling operator must not obtain any licences. Nevertheless, the details as well as a copy of their criminal records are requested during the application process, and these people must be deemed by the Gaming Commission to be apt for the position they hold.
III THE LICENSING PROCESS
i Application and renewal
Applications for any type of gambling licence must be submitted with the Gaming Commission through registered mail or, when available, online. Specific forms are made available through applicable royal decrees.
The eligibility criteria for any type of licence are the following: as an individual, be a citizen of one of the EU Member States or, as a legal person27 be incorporated under the laws of any EU Member State; provide the proof of the necessary solvency (including compliance with the required solvency ratio); description of the shareholding structure; proof that the company has no outstanding debts in relation to the tax authorities of any EU Member State; copy of the criminal records of the directors of the applicant; list and rules of games to be offered; and other requirements depending on the type of licence, such as addresses of the place where the server is located in Belgium (online gambling licence), name and details of the bookmaker or betting organiser (F1 and F2 licences), responsible gaming policies, advertising policy to be implemented, map outlining the structure of the future website, description of the security and technical measures to be implemented to protect players, avoid breaches, protect payments, and so on.
Renewal of licences follows the same principles. However, when one of the (34) available F1 licences becomes available, a transparent, competitive and non-discriminatory award procedure is put in place by the Gaming Commission.28 Furthermore, concession agreements, the conclusion of which is required to be granted an A licence, are allocated under the rules of service concessions, which requires a transparent, non-discriminatory award procedure.29 This also applies to renewals of concession agreements.
For certain licence applications, the Gaming Commission must decide within a preset deadline (A and B licence applications must be decided within six months after submitting a complete application file).
Applicants must also pay a security prior to receiving any licence. The amount of this security can go up to €250,000 depending on the type of licence sought. The operational costs of the Gaming Commission are paid by the operators through an annual licensing fee.30
ii Sanctions for non-compliance
Any licensee that breaches the terms of its licence can be subject to different sanctions, varying from simple warnings to administrative fines, a prohibition to operate one or more games of chance, suspension or withdrawal of its licence, (temporary) closure of the gambling venue, and even criminal prosecution, which in its turn can lead to fines and even imprisonment sentences. Administrative or criminal fines (as well as imprisonment) can also be applied to non-licensees in breach of the law on games of chance. In any case, before issuing an administrative fine or any other sanctions of administrative nature, the Gaming Commission must give the offender the possibility to be heard.
The criminal sanctions applicable to illegal (offshore) operators also apply to anyone who promotes the illegal operation of gambling activities or who facilitates in any way whatsoever that operation, or who advertises those activities or recruits for those operators, and even to players who participate in illegal gambling activities.31
For the unlicensed organisation or operation of a game of chance or a gaming establishment, for illegally cumulating or transferring gambling licences, for the unlicensed provision of services requiring an E licence and breach of rules applicable to D licences, a person found guilty may be sentenced to between six months’ and five years’ imprisonment or fined between €800 and €800,000, or both.
For the advertising of illegal games of chance or gaming premises, the participation in games of chance known to be illegal, the recruitment of players for illegal gaming establishments or games of chance, for breach of rules on betting or breach of the obligation to identify anyone entering a casino or gaming hall, and breach of rules relating to complementary gifts to customers, a person found guilty may be fined between €208 and €200,000 or be sentenced to between one month’s and three years’ imprisonment, or both. These sanctions may be doubled in case of second offence within five years of a first conviction or when the offence has been committed in relation to minors (i.e., under 18 years old). Moreover, judges may seize the funds, materials, tools, machines and any other means used to perform the illegal activity. Finally, judges can also order the closure of the gaming premises or the withdrawal of a licence by the Gaming Commission.32
As regards breaches of the National Lottery’s monopoly, they are subject to the following sanctions under the Criminal Code.
Individuals or directors of companies found guilty of organising illegal lotteries may be sentenced to between eight days’ and three months’ imprisonment, and a fine of between €400 and €24,000. Any remaining prize money, facilities and materials linked to the illegal lottery game are forfeited to the state. If any real-estate property was offered as a prize, it will be seized by the state and the operator will be fined between €800 and €80,000. The distributors, promoters and any person who placed advertisements in any form and by any means whatsoever may be fined between €400 and €24,000 or sentenced to between eight days’ and one month’s imprisonment. All remaining lottery tickets would also be seized and destroyed.33
Until the future adoption and entry into force of the national Act implementing the EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive34 subjecting all gambling and lottery operators to its due diligence obligations, the current Belgian act implementing the Third AML Directive35 only applies to land-based casinos. Land-based casinos are consequently subject to due diligence obligations, such as identification of players and final beneficiary, permanent monitoring of the transactions above €1,000, etc.36 The Gaming Commission functions as the controlling and supervisory authority, in cooperation with the Belgian Financial Intelligence Unit. Similar obligations under the AML regime will apply to all gambling operators through the implementation of the Fourth AML Directive.
However, the current gambling and lottery regime already puts in place measures to detect and report suspicious gambling patterns, and identify players in certain situations. For instance, the National Lottery operator identifies players for any payments of winnings above €2,000. In addition, any betting operator must register players who place bets for an amount of €1,000 or above. All those measures already follow the purpose of fighting against an illegal gambling pattern (including match-fixing), money laundering and terrorist financing.
Finally, match-fixing as such is not a criminal offence under Belgian law. However, match-fixing falls within the scope of the provisions sanctioning private corruption and corruption of persons exercising public functions,37 and is subject to criminal sanctions accordingly. In addition, the Act on games of chance prohibits participation in any game of chance (which includes betting) where the participant can exert a direct influence on the outcome.
Winnings from lotteries or any other games of chance are exempt from taxes.
There is, however, a gaming tax, which is levied by the regional authorities and hence differs (somewhat) depending on which region is competent.38 The applicable tax rates also vary between different types of gambling. This tax is, in principle, levied on the gross gaming revenue (i.e., profits obtained by the operator after deduction of the winnings paid out to players). However, gaming machines are subject to a gambling tax in the form of a fixed amount per machine per year (differing as well per region and type of gaming machine). There is a different tax rate for online gambling.
The National Lottery operator does pay gambling taxes on its sports betting activities licensed under the Act on games of change. On its public lottery activities the National Lottery is obliged to pay a monopoly rent, the amount of which is calculated annually and published in a royal decree, as well as ‘subsidies and special contributions’.
Belgium installed VAT on online gambling in the course of 2016. Following this new measure, VAT is levied on online games of chance (including betting) but not on lotteries. The legality of this additional taxation is contested by some operators and a case in which the annulment of the law is requested is currently pending before the Constitutional Court.
VI ADVERTISING AND MARKETING
As outlined in Section III.ii, supra, offering gambling services without the appropriate licence as well as advertising for unlicensed gambling activities is illegal and can lead to criminal sanctions. As such, any operator not duly licensed under Belgian law, or anyone else promoting the products or services of unlicensed operators may be subject to sanctions.
However, licensed gambling operators and the National Lottery operator are both allowed to advertise for their activities, albeit with a certain restraint in order not to undermine the consistency and the objectives pursued by the whole Belgian gambling policy.
Further, more detailed rules on advertising for (online) gambling are likely to be introduced in the future. Currently, during the application process for an online licence, the Gaming Commission assesses the advertising policy sought to be implemented by the future operators of online gambling and may raise objections or ask to make modifications should the policy be deemed too aggressive. In addition, gambling advertising must adhere to the general rules as laid down in the Belgian Economic Code39 (e.g., not mislead players).
The National Lottery follows the same rules and principles, and has in place a Code on ethical advertising. In any case, the National Lottery must advertise for its activities in a responsible manner and with a certain restraint, taking into account its mission of public service as laid down in the management agreement between the National Lottery and the Belgian state.
VII THE YEAR IN REVIEW
An important recent change was the implementation of VAT on online gambling. The federal structure of the Belgian state with tax competencies for the regions (VAT is levied at the federal level) raised questions as regards the legality of the VAT measure and certain online operators. The Walloon government challenged the law imposing VAT on online gambling. It therefore remains to be seen whether this additional taxation will stand after scrutiny by the Constitutional Court.
In an ongoing dispute between certain casino operators (i.e., land-based and online as per the Belgian licensing system) and a gaming hall operator (again also land-based and online) the scope of certain provisions in the law on games of chance were put under scrutiny. In January 2016 a peculiar judgment was issued by a Brussels court40 in which it was ruled that offering betting and casino games on the same website is illegal, and that offering to directly participate in betting online is also illegal. This judgment cannot be seen as prohibiting online betting in Belgium as it is only valid between the parties in those proceedings and the appeal case is currently still pending. Moreover, the Council of State (the highest administrative court) has – following that judgment – ruled the exact opposite, but it also referred a question to the Constitutional Court to know whether a difference of treatment between land-based venues (prohibition to offer betting and casino games in one venue) and online websites (provision of both activities on the same website) is compliant with the Belgian Constitution. The wave of legal proceedings in which the law on games of chance must be interpreted by the courts, has until now led to more uncertainty rather than to clarification, but it can be expected that this well be resolved with the final judgments in the cases still pending.
The year 2016 also saw the Cour de Cassation (the highest court) rule that it is against the law on smoking in public places to create designated smoking areas in casinos where gambling machines are available to visitors. Although this prohibition rests on a rather dubious legal basis, operators of casinos and gaming halls are now warned that this practice (which was rather common) is punishable. Given the risks associated with breaching the rules on smoking in public places, it can be expected that operators will no longer put gaming machines in designated smoking areas in its venue.
In the context of the infringement proceedings ‘reactivated’ in November 2013 by the European Commission, Belgium received an official request for information targeting the transparency of its gambling system as regards, especially, the rules relating to the legal conduct of online gambling businesses; the required physical presence in order to be granted an online gambling licence; and the granting to the National Lottery of a betting licence (F1 licence). At the time of writing, the European Commission has not replied to the extensive submission made by the Belgian government. In practice, the regulatory framework in place has provided a relatively stable legal environment for the past years (both land-based and online), but there is still work to be done. Several new royal decrees are under discussion, while new games, requiring proper regulation, are emerging.
1 Philippe Vlaemminck is a partner and Robbe Verbeke is a senior associate at Pharumlegal.
2 Judgment 232.752 of the Council of State of 29 October 2015 (Gamepoint). The fact that players can win (unlimited amounts of) play money, which gives the opportunity to keep on playing, makes this type of game fall within the ambit of the definition of games of chance, read together with the exclusions provided in Article 3 of the Act on games of chance.
3 Notice of the Belgian Gaming Commission of 12 November 2014 on spread betting, available on the website of the Belgian Gaming Commission.
4 Notice of the Belgian Gaming Commission of 12 November 2014 on binary options, available on the website of the Belgian Gaming Commission.
5 Article 4 of the Act on games of chance.
6 See Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), judgment of 6 March 2007, Placanica, C-338/04, 359/04 and 360/04, EU:C:2006:324, paragraphs 55 and 57.
7 A concession agreement must be concluded with the municipality in which the casino premises will be operated (Article 31 of the Act on games of chance).
8 The operation of gaming halls must be performed based on the agreement to be entered into, at the own discretion of the authorities, between the operator and the municipal authorities of the territory in which the gaming halls will be operated (Article 34 of the Act on games of chance).
9 Article 20 of the Act on games of chance.
10 Article 15/2 and 15/3 of the Act on games of chance.
11 ISPs committed to cooperating voluntarily through the conclusion of an agreement – the majority of ISPs are parties to this agreement.
12 See judgment of the President of the Court of Commerce of Brussels (Flemish Chamber) of 13 June 2012 (Bwin case), and judgment of the Civil Court of First instance of Brussels (Flemish Chamber) of 11 February 2013 (Bet-at-Home case). See also judgment 232.752 of the Council of State of 29 October 2015 (Gamepoint).
13 The law and its underlying policy were contested before the Constitutional Court, which however decided in 2011 that the Belgian gambling regime based on controlled expansion is effectively pursuing consumer protection objectives, and that this regime is compliant with the case law of the CJEU. See Constitutional Court, judgment of 14 July 2011, No. 128/2011.
14 Law of 19 April 2002 on the rationalisation, functioning, and management of the National Lottery.
15 Latest version as agreed by Royal decree of 30 August 2016.
16 Law of 31 December 1851 on lotteries.
17 Under Chapter V of the National Lottery Act.
18 Constitutional Court, judgment of 10 March 2004, No. 33/2004.
19 Royal Decree of 21 June 2011 regarding qualitative conditions to be fulfilled by additional licences applicants. This ratio enables the Gaming Commission to ensure the applicant/operator does benefit from sufficient financial means to guarantee the payment of winnings to players, and differs from one type of game to another.
20 Article 29 of the Act on games of chance.
21 Article 1 of Royal Decree of 22 December 2010 setting the maximum number of fixed and mobile betting shops, the criteria aimed at ensuring a spread of those venues, and the treatment procedures for applications when a licence is released due to a withdrawal or a waiver.
22 Article 2 of Royal Decree of 22 December 2010 setting the maximum number of fixed and mobile betting shops, the criteria aimed at ensuring a spread of those venues, and the treatment procedures for applications when a licence is released due to a withdrawal or a waiver.
23 This stems among other things from Article 4 of the Royal Decree of 30 July 2010 approving the management contract between the National Lottery and the Belgian state.
24 This includes most notably internet (via pc, smartphone, tablet) but other distribution channels are possible.
25 Article 52 of the Act on games of chance.
26 However, in practice, the Gaming Commission usually accepts such a double possession when a gambling licensee holds as well an E licence via one of its subsidiaries, provided that a certain threshold relating to the shares held by the gambling licensee within that subsidiary is not met.
27 It must be noted that non-profit associations are not allowed to apply for gambling licences.
28 Royal Decree of 22 December 2010 setting the maximum number of betting organisers and the procedure for applications when a licence is released because of a withdrawal or a waiver.
29 Directive 2014/23/EU of 26 February 2014 on the award of concession contracts, as implemented by the law of 17 June 2016 regarding concession agreements. See also case law of the CJEU, e.g., CJEU, judgment of 16 February 2012, Costa and Cifone, joined cases C-72/10 and C-77/10, EU:C:2012:80, paragraphs 54-57.
30 For the amounts, see Royal Decree of 20 December 2016 on the contribution to the functioning, personnel and organisational costs of the Gaming Commission due by holders of licences A, A+, B, B+, C, E, F1, F1+, F2, G1 and G2 for the civil year 2017.
31 Article 4 of the Act on games of chance.
32 Chapter VII of the Act on games of chance.
33 Articles 302 and 303 of the Belgian Criminal Code.
34 Directive (EU) 2015/849 of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC.
35 Directive 2005/60/EC of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing.
36 See amongst others, Articles 4 and 9 of the Act of 11 January 1993 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing.
37 Articles 246, 504 bis and 504 ter of the Criminal Code.
38 For information, Belgium is divided into three economic Regions, namely the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and the Region of Brussels-Capital.
39 Their infringement could lead to action for damages before commercial courts.
40 Commercial Court of Brussels (Flemish Chamber), judgment of 27 January 2016.