Jannie Haek: “Belgium is the Wild West of online betting”

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 12:33
Jannie Haek would prefer Belgium to take a tougher stance on online gambling as other European countries have done. Jannie Haek would prefer Belgium to take a tougher stance on online gambling as other European countries have done. © Belga
The head of the National Lottery does not mince his words, regarding the Gambling Commission, in an interview granted to the daily Flemish daily newspaper Knack.
Jannie Haek considers that the Commission is not carrying out its task of regulator to the requisite standard, describing Belgium “as the Wild West of online gambling.”

Mr Haek quoted the example of a minor who successfully registered with the Commission under the name of “Kermit the Frog” without any problems. The CEO of the National Lottery explains, “Mr Frog then opened an account with a well-known online site with a gambling limit of 10 million euros.”

This is of particular concern regarding the policy for the granting of betting licences. Mr Haek rages, “The Gambling Commission stresses its lack of executive decision-making powers: they say that because by law there are no criteria or rules, they can do none other than approve all requests. It really is a topsy-turvy world!” He considers that Belgium has become “the Wild West of online betting.”

He adds that neighbouring countries have either prohibited online betting or heavily regulated it, whilst there are dozens of sites available in Belgium. Mr Haek mocks, “They use the excuse here that it is so players are not using illegal sites.”

He concludes, “How very absurd! Obviously Belgian gamblers are not going to visit prohibited sites. Why on earth should they? Everything which is prohibited elsewhere is legal here.”

Lars Andersen
The Brussels Times
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