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Belgium Proposes Raising Gambling Age to 21 for Enhanced Protection

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Towards a Safer Gaming Environment: Belgium’s Push to Raise Gambling Age

In a decisive move to enhance public safety and responsible gaming, the Belgian expertise centre for alcohol, illegal drugs, psychoactive medication, gambling, and gaming (VAD) has proposed a significant change in gambling legislation. The suggestion to elevate the minimum gambling age to 21 in Belgium is part of a broader initiative to foster a safer and more controlled environment around gambling and substance use.

Aligning Gambling and Alcohol Regulations for Consistency

Strengthening Legal Frameworks for Public Health

VAD, collaborating closely with the Flemish government and representing over 70 substance and addiction groups, underlines the need for “consistent legislation” across gambling and alcohol regulations. The memorandum released by VAD outlines nine critical priorities, emphasizing three “cost-effective measures in legislation”: price increases, advertisement bans, and limited availability. A crucial aspect of these measures is raising the minimum age for gambling to 21, aligning it with the proposed age for alcohol purchase at 18.

Current Gambling Age Restrictions and Proposed Changes

As it stands, Belgians can engage in casino activities and use slot machines, both online and in retail establishments, only after reaching 21. However, for online or retail betting, the minimum age requirement is currently set at 18. VAD’s proposal aims to bring a unified approach to gambling age restrictions, thus ensuring better protection for young adults and other vulnerable groups from potential gambling-related harm.

Emphasizing Protection for Vulnerable Groups

VAD stresses that restricting access to gambling and alcohol is vital in safeguarding individuals, particularly those in vulnerable situations. This approach resonates with the growing awareness and need for preventive measures in public health and addiction management.

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Recent Initiatives in Belgian Gambling Care

This initiative is the latest in a series of efforts to regulate Belgium’s gambling market. In November of the previous year, the Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO), which represents six leading operators and accounts for 70% of Belgium’s gambling sector, introduced a self-imposed duty of care. This commitment by BAGO members—Ardent Group, Betfirst, Golden Palace, Kindred, Napoléon Sports & Casinos, and Starcasino—focuses on measures to identify and address problem gambling behaviors among their clientele. These measures include a standardized detection system, targeted communication with players, and comprehensive staff training.

The duty of care initiative emerged in response to political criticisms of Belgium’s gambling market, with BAGO members actively seeking to challenge perceptions and demonstrate their commitment to responsible gambling practices. Emmanuel Mewissen, vice-president of BAGO, highlighted the industry’s dedication to upholding ethical standards and dispelling misconceptions in an interview with L’Echo.

Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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Dutch Regulator Intensifies Supervision in 2024 to Ensure Safe Gambling

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Dutch Regulator KSA’s 2024 Supervisory Agenda Targets Responsible Gambling

As a seasoned gambling professional, staying updated on regulatory agendas is crucial for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the industry. The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has unveiled its ambitious Supervisory Agenda for 2024, outlining strategic initiatives to reinforce responsible gambling practices and combat illicit operations. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the key objectives set forth by the KSA, shedding light on the regulatory priorities shaping the Dutch gambling landscape in the coming year.

The KSA’s Supervisory Agenda for 2024 underscores its unwavering commitment to promoting responsible gambling and safeguarding consumer welfare. Central to its mission is the amplification of “Safe Play” measures, aimed at fostering a secure and transparent gambling environment for all stakeholders. With a renewed emphasis on regulatory oversight, the KSA aims to bolster its supervisory framework to address emerging challenges and uphold the integrity of the Dutch gambling market.

In its pursuit of regulatory excellence, the KSA will intensify its scrutiny of operators’ duty of care measures, emphasising the importance of proactive interventions to prevent problem gambling behaviours. By implementing a data-driven approach to risk-based monitoring, the regulator aims to identify and mitigate potential harm swiftly, ensuring that operators fulfil their obligations to prioritise player protection.

Furthermore, the KSA’s agenda for 2024 includes targeted measures to disrupt the supply chain for unlicensed online gambling. Recognising the proliferation of illicit operators, the regulator will employ investigative tactics to dismantle unauthorised gambling networks and hold perpetrators accountable. Through rigorous enforcement actions and collaboration with law enforcement agencies, the KSA seeks to root out illegal gambling activities and preserve the integrity of the licensed gambling sector.

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A key focal point of the KSA’s supervisory efforts will be the enforcement of advertising regulations, with a particular emphasis on safeguarding vulnerable demographics, including young people. In response to recent findings highlighting breaches in advertising standards, the regulator remains steadfast in its commitment to curbing irresponsible marketing practices and promoting socially responsible advertising within the gambling industry.

In a recent revelation, the KSA unveiled the results of its investigation into unlicensed gambling advertising, exposing widespread non-compliance among affiliate sites. Of the 33 gambling websites scrutinised, 14 were found to have flouted regulations, including targeting individuals who had self-excluded from gambling activities. Such violations underscore the urgency of the KSA’s enforcement efforts to curb illicit advertising practices and protect consumers from exploitative marketing tactics.

As the Dutch gambling landscape evolves, the KSA’s Supervisory Agenda for 2024 serves as a beacon of regulatory diligence and consumer protection. By prioritising responsible gambling initiatives and cracking down on illicit operators, the regulator reaffirms its commitment to fostering a safe, fair, and sustainable gambling environment for all. As industry professionals, it is imperative to align with the KSA’s vision and actively contribute to the advancement of responsible gambling practices in the Netherlands.

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