Myriad of illegal gambling and betting sites accessible in Belgium
In May 2020, Ladbrokes published a study on the illegal online gambling market in Belgium. This study showed that it is very easy for a Belgian gambler to register, deposit and play on illegal sites.
The objective of the present study is to update and extend the scope of the previous study by (re)analysing 500 websites (adding 250 websites to the websites analysed in May 2020) and by adding three points of analysis: illegal advertising, the regulator and the country of origin. The same methodology as in May 2020 was used. The analysis was carried out during the months of September and October.
We will see that the monopoly of legal operators in Belgium is purely theoretical since the illegal offer is plethoric. In practice, legal operators face fierce competition from the numerous illegal operators, against whom they fight with unequal weapons since the latter do not care about nor respect the rules protecting players (aggressive advertising, no bonus bans, no deposit limits, less strict age criteria, etc.). It is still very easy to access gambling sites that are not legally licensed in Belgium, and does not require any special or advanced computer skills. Finally, we will see that, from a fiscal point of view, the activities of illegal gambling operators generate a huge loss of income for the State. Their income is not subject to either federal or local and regional taxes.
The Belgian authorities must act to achieve the objective of channelling gamblers towards a legal offer that protects their interests.