Belgium’s BAGO condemns proposed ban on unified gambling accounts

Proposals by Belgian legislators to enforce customers to open multiple accounts for different gaming verticals have been criticised by the country’s gambling industry trade association.

The amendment to Belgian gambling law would require bettors to open multiple accounts with the same operator across different gaming offerings – i.e., different accounts for sports betting, online casino, poker etc. 

A law relating to gaming accounts was first introduced in 2019 but was postponed for over two years, and since then a change in Belgian political administration has seen the new coalition government adopt a different approach. 

The new policy adopted by legislators has called for an end to customers using one account to access different gambling offerings with one operator, with the original 2019 legislation allowing this practice.

Belgium’s Gambling Commission (BGC) had asserted that the original proposals may not be beneficial to players, but the Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) industry body has condemned the recent changes as having a potentially negative impact on player protection.

Issuing a statement on Linkedin, BAGO stated that the ‘cumulation ban’ poses ‘a serious threat to consumer protection’, and instead advocated for the continued use of single player accounts in order to ‘offer greater, better and substantiated player protection’. 

The use of multiple accounts, BAGO argued, would mean players lose overview of their expenses, and could be driven to illegal operators which ‘by definition do not respect the rules and therefore do not offer player protection’.

Additionally, the body also noted that operators would ‘lose a holistic view of players’ gambling behaviour’, meaning it would be more difficult to detect, warn of and provide advice about gambling related harm. 

Lastly, the association also stated that the changes would mean: “Sharing consolidated data on problem gambling behaviours with government and academics is made more difficult, which prevents the development of new perspectives and future policies.”

Additional potential changes to Belgium gambling regulation and legislation include a possible prohibition on newspaper shops offering licenced sports betting services – recommendation made by the BGC.

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