From medieval towns and aesthetic art-nouveau buildings to Renaissance architecture and baroque guildhalls at Grand-Place, Belgium is a phenomenal Western European nation. While its capital, Brussels, is bilingual, its surrounded with Dutch, French and German-speaking countries to the north, south, and east respectively. Finally, Belgium is home to the headquarters of the NATO and EU. All these attributes in conjunction with its fascinating gambling industry, Belgium is a sophisticated destination.
Gambling never caught any attention in Belgium until 1930 when Grand Casino Knokke was constructed in the seaside resort of Knokke-Heist according to Leon Stynen’s design. During World War II, the casino was heavily destructed. Nevertheless, renovations and Rene Magritte’s decorations empowered the casino after the war and increased its continental fame. Considerably, this casino and the nationwide love for sports made gambling popular in Belgium.
However, gambling was not officially legalized until 1999. On May 7th, the then-Belgian administration passed the Law on all gaming, gambling and betting activities, and instituted Belgian Gaming Commission to license, regulate, monitor and audit all gambling facilities, activities, players and organizers in the country. Later on January 10th 2010, the commission along with the Law were amended so new casinos could open (there could only be 9 casinos, 34 sportsbooks, and 180 arcades according to the first law) and to cement the fact that the minimum gambling age in Belgium is 21 years, unlike most countries.
Licensing a gambling facility in Belgium is a bit complicated according to the law of the land. Licenses are divided into many parts. A is meant for land-based casinos while A+ is meant for casinos providing online services as well. B is for land-based slot machine arcades while B+ is for the arcades which provide online services as well. C is issued to cafés and venues offering one-ball and Bingo only. D is issued to employees of a gambling establishment. E is for gaming equipment – renting, selling and production. F1 is the organizer of the bet, F2 is for individuals providing betting services, and F2 is for providing online sports betting services.
Lastly, G1 is for the televised games of chance while G2 is for the games of chance broadcasted using another media coverage.
Gambling, as stated earlier, has attained a height of fame in Belgium. Most – if not all – forms of gambling are legal, licensed and regulated. Poker, lottery, and sports (especially football) betting are particularly popular amongst Belgium natives and residents. As long as a company is licensed and regulated by Belgium Gaming Commission, the company can carry out gambling operations according to the license acquired.
The country features a total number of 79 gambling facilities consisting of 74 casinos and five racetracks. The country’s gambling scene is as pleasant as other European countries’. Gambling is a nationwide pastime so everything related to gambling and casinos is made easy in Belgium. Additionally, the country offers a distinct feature: an opportunity for French, Dutch, German, or mixed speakers to enjoy a variety of casino games.
In Belgium, most cities and towns feature one gambling facility. There are exceptions, however, namely Brussels with eight, Antwerp with eight, Charleroi with four, Liège with three, Mons with two, Pecq with two, and Oostende with two. Therefore, there are 57 cities and towns with one or more gambling facilities in Belgium.
The largest gambling facility in the whole Belgium is the Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE, which has a WPT Poker Room for 100 players, 375 gaming machines, and 39 table games. Grand Casino de Namur offers 221 gaming machines and table games as the second largest casino. Casino Kursaal Oostende is the third largest gambling facility in Belgium, with 200 gaming machines and 20 table games. Napoleon Games Grand Casino Knokke – the oldest Belgian casino – is the fourth largest facility, with 200 gaming machines and 18 table games.
There is a wide variety of gambling and gaming options in Belgium. The traditional casinos are mostly attached to large, luxury hotels and offer games and activities such as slot machines, blackjack, Omaha poker, Texas Hold’em, punto banco, Stud poker, baccarat, craps, and English roulette. Poker tournaments and cash games often hold as well.
In addition to casinos, there are more than 180 amusement arcades in Belgium. These arcades are permitted to offer slot machines exclusively. Bingo, on the other hand, is not popular in Belgium. Amongst the total 79 gambling facilities, only a few – and the National Lottery – offer bingo games. Horse racing is loved in Belgium, considering the five hippodromes operating in the country.
Online gambling in Belgium works in a distinct way. Online casinos, lotteries, poker sites, and bookmakers must be connected to a physical gambling facility within Belgium. As a result of this, Belgium citizens and visitors are not allowed to gamble on most online gambling providers.
Sports betting – as expected – is outrageously popular in Belgium like other European countries. While football (soccer) is the country’s favorite, other sports are widely wagered on. The lottery, similarly, is well-liked in Belgium. This European country also uses a state-monopolized lottery operator like most countries. The Loterie National Belgique (or the Belgian National Lottery) offers bingo, lotto, and keno amongst other options. The national lottery operator also offers lottery games, bingo and sports betting online at e-lotto.be.
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of Belgium.
Blitz Casino Antwerp
Blue Diamond – Lichtervelde
Cameo Palace Brussels
Cameo Palace Quévy
Carousel Casino Games
Casino de Chaudfontaine
Casino de Spa
Casino Kursaal Oostende
Emerald – La Louvière
Emerald – Ypres
Golden Palace Brussels
Golden Palace Charleroi
Golden Palace Charleroi Grand Central
Golden Palace Péruwelz
Golden Palace St-Ghislain
Golden Palace Waterloo
Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE
Grand Casino de Namur
Hippodrome de Wallonie
Le Golden Vegas
Magic Dice – Beveren
Magic Dice – Boortmeerbeek
Magic Dice – Boutersem
Magic Dice – Grobbendonk
Magic Dice – Holsbeek
Magic Dice – Houthalen
Magic Dice – Lier
Magic Dice – Mol
Magic Dice – Scherpenheuvel
Mirage – Amay
Napoleon Casino de Middelkerke
Napoleon Games Grand Casino Knokke
New Vegas Belgium
Palais Casino du Dinant
Playworld Amusement – Antwerp
Playworld Amusement – Lokeren
Playworld Amusement – Roeselare
Starcasino.be – Overijse
Starcasino.be – Vilvoorde
Starcasino.be – Zaventem
Starcasino.be – Zingem
SuperGame Casino Antwerpen
Versailles Palace – Brussels
Versailles Palace – Charleroi
Versailles Palace – Mons
Win2Day Belgium SA
– Initially, the minimum gambling age in Belgium was 18 years. However, the minimum gambling age is 21 years currently. It’s even more complicated than that! Casinos in Belgium are limited to people 21 years or older because casinos are considered private clubs and players are considered members.
– Belgian casinos require a valid ID with a recent photo before entering the facility.
– Almost all forms of land-based and online gaming and gambling are legal in Belgium.
– While Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE is part of the Casinos Austria International chain, Casino Kursaal Oostende is part of the Partouche Group.
– Belgium has some of the largest casinos in Europe.
– Grand Casino Knokke initially belonged to Partouche Group – a French casino-hotel company – before being sold to Napoleon Games Company due to some monetary issues.
– The Miss Belgium beauty pageant event holds annually at the Grand Casino Knokke in Knokke-Heist.
– According to the Law of May 7, 1999, sporting activities, promotional contests (excluding sweepstakes), card, parlour or other games which present no monetary benefits, games which allow the player to play five times or less consecutively, games played outside a gambling facility, games organized due to a special event four times or less a year, games offered by fairs or amusement parks, and games organized for a non-profit, charitable or social course are not classified as games of chance.
– Belgium Gaming Commission has 10 representatives and a president. Two representatives each from the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Finance.
– Fines ordered by Belgium Gaming Commission concerning illegal gambling can range from €26 to €25,000 for players and €100 to €100,000 for operators.
– Belgium Gaming Commission lists hundreds of banned gaming websites on its official website: gamingcommission.be.
– In pursuit of solving online identification issues, Belgium Gaming Commission licensed True Odds NV on 25 October 2017 to offer Egames 2.0, a system to identify fake national registry numbers.
– On 1 February 2010, the Law of 10 January 2010 was openly published in the Belgian Official Gazette and became effective on 1 January 2011.
– The Federal Public Service for Justice is the head of Belgium Gaming Commission.
– According to Belgium Gaming Commission, stake, chance, and win or lose are the three elements of a game of chance.
– According to Belgium Gaming Commission, gambling facilities are divided into casinos, slot machine arcades, betting offices, and bookshops.
– Belgium started making moves to ban loot boxes in November 2017.