Belgian operator association BAGO blasts plans to separate betting and casino accounts

Belgian operator association BAGO blasts plans to separate betting and casino accounts

The association argues that the obligation would be a “serious threat to consumer protection”.

Belgium.- The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) has criticised government plans to force Belgian players to register for separate online betting and casino accounts. It claims the move could harm safer gambling initiatives.

The Belgian government is considering the requirement to separate betting from online casino in an amendment to a 2019 bill introduced in the Chamber of Representatives. The original bill only banned operators from offering betting and casino gaming on the same website.

The Belgian Gambling Commission (BGC) issues separate licences for casino games and sports betting, and court rulings in Belgium have determined that in order to ensure equal terms with land-based gaming, operators cannot offer the two verticals on the same website.

The original 2019 bill established that operators must split gaming and betting across different URLs but would allow players to use a single account across each operator’s different sites. However, the new amendment would prohibit that, forcing players to register separately for each vertical.

The amendment states: “It is not permitted to use the same player account for participation in games of chance operated on the basis of different licenses. It is also prohibited to transact between different player accounts.”

BAGO warned that the rule could cause players to lose control of their spending because they would have more accounts to keep tabs on. That added friction could cause some players to turn to the black market, it said.

It also believes the move would make it harder for operators to monitor player behaviour and share consolidated data with the BGC.

It said the amendment posed a “serious threat to consumer protection” and that it “advocates maintaining the single player accounts per operator to offer more, better and substantiated player protection.”

Belgium limits newsagents’ betting hours, stakes and advertising

In March, the BGC announced the implementation of a new Royal Decree on gambling, which imposes restrictions on betting stakes, times and advertising at newsagents in the country. The legislation was approved in February following advice from the BGC.

While the original degree brought in regulation allowing newsagents to take retail bets, the new rules place more restrictions on how they can do that, including major restrictions on how much of their income can come from betting.

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