Belgium instituted their Gaming Commission in May 1999. Later receiving even greater powers and amended in 2010, the Gaming Commission is tasked with overseeing and legalising casinos in Belgium. This means that gambling and casinos are fully legal throughout Belgium. Given this situation, and that some countries are crying for casino legalisation, Belgium has no seen a proliferation in this industry at all. As at the time of writing, there were less than ten casinos throughout the entire European country. The casinos are also not placed for the local market but rather aimed at tourists. For this reason the largest casinos are at primarily tourist venues and not in the capital of Brussels.
The only other legalities regarding Belgian casinos are that players must be over the age of 21, and that they should adhere to the different casinos’ dress codes.
The Leading Casino in Belgium
The largest and most popular casino in Belgium is Casino Knokke. Situated in the town of Knokke-Heist, which is some 100km north of Brussels and a popular getaway for the many European politicians and dignitaries frequenting the seat of the European Parliament.
Belgium’s other casinos are significantly smaller and more casual. Even so, the range of games at the best in the country is very limited when compared to Las Vega or other major European casinos. The casino floor contains some 200 slot machines, and then merely eight roulette tables, four blackjack tables and two poker tables. Spread out over two casino floors, the slots do, however, contain all the latest slots machines. Casino Knokke has come to represent Belgium casino industry and is one of the very few hosting any major events and concerts. It is only at this casino that the traditional association casinos have with the entertainment industry is in any way evident, for it is here that the finals of the Miss Belgium contest are held every year, and here that the entrants to the Eurovision Song Contest are selected.
Online Casino Play
Online casino play falls under the same governing body in Belgium and are therefore fully legal. The only requirement is that any online casino established in Belgium needs to get a land-based license first. Belgium places a cap on the number of land-based casino operators, and this regulation realistically limits the number of online casinos in Belgium too. There are currently eight online casinos designed expressly for domestic Belgian online casino players.
Casino aficionados do play at foreign-operated internet casinos. There are many European casino sites online, and despite often being preferred by Belgian players due to the lower tax requirements on winnings, are periodically blacklisted by the Gaming Commission. However, action is never taken against individual players. There are nevertheless a number of European-based online casino sites that offer gameplay in Flemish, Dutch or French and cater to the Belgian market. Since the currency is all in Euros generally, access is therefore fairly easy and these sites are allowed in the country.
Gambling in Belgium
Therefore, although the casino industry in Belgium is relatively small, one or two land-based casinos have been noticed in the European context. The online market is more popular, and all the casino games popular around the world are available.