The Gaming Commission was born in Belgium the 7th of May, 1999, with the aim to facilitate politics of control and management of gambling. In particular, the commission has the task to advise the government and the parliament of Brussels about gambling, in the following disciplines:
- Decisions about licence permissions for casinos (License A);
- Decisions about license permissions for game rooms (License B);
- Decisions about license permissions for places where you can give alcohol (License C);
- Decisions about recruitment in casinos and game rooms (License D);
- Decisions about the choice of suppliers and maintenance of machines for gambling (license E);
The Gambling Commission, chaired by Etienne Marique, has the task to oversee all activities related to gambling on the territory of Belgium and to monitor license owners in full respect of them, inflicting penalties to operators if they don’t respect rules. So the central role of the Commission is ensuring safety and protection of players.
The role of Gaming Commission
The Commission is an organism of advice but also of decision and supervision of gambling. It is constituted by 13 members: one of them is an officer of justice.
The president and his vice-president are chosen directly by the King, with a decree discussed in the Cabinet of Justice. Commission members and their alternates are appointed for a period of three years;they are renewed for a period of three years in the case of government representatives. They mustn’t have any connection (until the relation of 4 grade) with gaming rooms.
The Commission does inspections and checks, providing additional information from the staff to police officers and official organism of the State;
The costs for management of the Commission and its Secretariat should be fully bound to funds that derive from taxes of the holders of licenses of A, B, C and E classes.
The role of GREF in the context of Belgian politics about gambling
The GREF - Gaming Regulators European Forum was born in 1989 for an initiative of the Gaming Board of Great Britain and the Board for Casino Games in Holland, including Denmark, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and other 21 countries (the administrative office is at Aja). Since that moment it meets every years and it is devoted to topics related to online betting, gambling addictions, technical standards, new European developments and the fight against money recycling.
In the Belgian context, GREF is important because it has contributed, in May 2005, with the Gaming Commission, to redraw rules of gambling in the country of beer.
Among the aims of GREF, we find:
- Being a point of contact among various regulatory organs in a national and supranational level;
- Providing a point of view and a direct response to a direct solicitation or a request that is received by institutions or organizations which are affiliated to European market;
The law on gambling in Belgium
The 7th of May, 1999, the Belgian Minister of Justice promulgates the act that governs gambling matter that is included in the Article 78 of the Constitution of the country, establishing a series of legal parameters that we list briefly (but not widely):
- 'Games of chance': Each game or bet with a stake that is committed and each game in which a player or gambler or operator wins a sum of money;
- 'Operate': to operate or maintain one or more games of chance;
- 'Gaming Establishment': gambling house, every room or building in which one or more games of chance are practised;
- 'Gaming room': games room, the location in the gaming establishment where a game takes place;
- After this iron law, there is the Article 47 of Law 39 of April 19, 2002 about 'rationalization of management and operations of the National Lottery': "it is forbidden to operate in any place and form one or more games of chance without a fully respect of the law ";
Types of gambling house
Depending on the type and the number of games of chance offered, the maximum bet, or the loss or revenue on the share of players, there are three types of casinos:
- Class I: casinos and gaming establishments;
- Class II: rooms for arcade game;
- Class III: bet place where alcohol is provided;
Regulation of licenses
For each of these classes of casino, the King promulgate the list of permitted games of chance for all the country, that the Gaming Commission is obliged to consider within a period of three months.
As concerns the 2 and 3 classes of game, the king, fixes the maximum amount of loss and gain for each game on the share of players and gamblers.
There are five classes of license:
- Class A: you can open an establishment of I class for a renewable period of fifteen years. Price: EUR 250,000;
- Class B: it allows functioning of a gambling house or a playroom for a renewable period of nine years. Cost: EUR 75,000;
- Class C: it allows functioning of a III Class structure for a renewable period of five years. Cost: EUR 500;
Requirements for release of licenses
The Commission has the task of verifying if the person who ask for a licence meets requirements and if he doesn’t meet them, it can require him to regularize. These are requirements:
- For persons, it is obligatory to be a citizen of a State of the EU;
- For legal entities, they must be classified according to Belgian law or according to the regional law of one of the States of the European Union;
- For individuals, it is necessary the full possession of civil and political rights;
- For legal entities, each director must be in full possession of civil and political rights;
- Having a contract of signed concession;
- Providing evidence about credit history and financial resources and, at any time and with care, providing to the Commission all information to ensure transparency in the management and identification of shareholders;
- eing placed in the central database for businesses as a commercial enterprise;
Depending on the type of license required it is necessary to present a documentation which can include:
- The complete identity of shareholders of the company (name, address, date and place of birth, number at registrar of birth or at National Register)
- A certificate of good conduct for each director. Documents must be originals;
- A copy of the individual income-tax return and of all supporting documents and documents returned by the Inland Revenue, if you have to pay additional taxes or if you expect a refund for the last 3 years
- A copy of the corporate income tax returns and of document of the tax department;
- A certificate from the bank specifying that the applicant has sufficient funds to pay the guarantee fee of 25,000 Euros;
- A document of the certification of honour stating that there won’t be any change that will not be communicated;
Measures and measures to protect the players
Access to the gaming rooms for I and II gaming classes is prohibited persons under 21 years of age, with the exception of staff. At the Ministry of Justice there is an information system for the processing of individuals and groups excluded from gambling.
In respect of personal data, each person who plays online is registered with:
- surname and first name;
- date and place of birth;
Payment: for local of I Class, transactions that exceed the sum of 10,000, must be done by a credit card or a debit card.
- Kantersteen 47
- 1000 Brussel
- Tel.: 02 504 00 40
- Website: www.gamingcommission.fgov.be