TWO NEW CASINOS ON THE CARDS FOR BELGIUM, THANKS TO NEW GOVERNMENT

Published on October 24, 2014 in Industry News

Viage Casino BrusselsThe online gambling industry has been abuzz with the news that the new Belgian government is taking a progressive view on gambling (including online), seeing it as a viable income source for an ailing economy. The government will be reviewing the Games of Chance Act of 7 May 1999 with the express intention of “increasing the number of allowed Class 1 establishments of games of chance to 11.” 

This increase in the number of land based casino licences will also mean the potential for an additional two online casino licences as the Belgian Gambling Commission (BCG) requires an online casino to be partnered with a legally licensed land-based casino. This partnership ensures a measure of peer management and ensures a body based in Belgium is within easy reach of the local tax authorities. 

Some of the notable partnerships already in place would be the Ladbrokes agreement with Middelkerke Casino-Kursaal NV, and Pokerstars who have partnered with Casino de Namur.

Some economists have raised an eyebrow at the statement that the additional casinos will be able “to help the country’s struggling economy” as less than 3% of Belgium’s gross domestic product is generated through tourism meaning most of the money in the system will come from Belgian residents.

However this decision has come about at the same time that the tax on gambling winnings by professional gamblers such as poker players, is also up for review. The move to have professional gambling winnings, whether online or at land based events, earmarked as a professional income could see the upper echelons of the gambling professionals being taxed as much as 75% of their jackpot wins.

On a positive note this taxation change would not affect recreational online casino players. The government still recognises winning a massive jackpot on a slot machine, or having an amazing run at the blackjack table, as an “exceptional event” which means your winnings remains tax exempt!