For the first time, police officers sanctioned for gambling

For the first time, police officers sanctioned for gambling
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For the first time in its 20-year-history, the Gaming Commission has sanctioned three police officers for gambling.

The gaming law of May 1999 formally forbids any serving police officer from entering a casino, betting office of gaming arcade other than on official duty. Magistrates, notaries and bailiffs are other professions who are forbidden from gambling, for obvious reasons: gambling debts would offer the perfect opportunity for suborning such an official’s legal duty.

The latest case concerns 12 police officers who were found in an investigation to be in breach of that ban. Three of them were using online casino sites using false names, traced back to police service computers. One had been playing like that for four years. Another spent €1,500 a month.

Another, a female officer, opened an account in her mother’s name, and had gambled away more than €56,000 in 668 online sessions in the 11 months to June 2016, using IP addresses assigned to the police service.

That officer was fined €60,000, and recognised that she had ruined her career. All but €5,000 of the fine was suspended.

Another officer used a similar tactic, by taking the name of his father-in-law. All police officers are entered on a log of people who are banned from gambling, and would not be able to open an account using their own name. The officer in question was caught gambling on 86 occasions, and left with a fine of €208.

The third officer played for nearly four years from police computers using the name of his own sister. He was fined €350.

The Commission’s sanctions against the remaining nine officers will follow.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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