Bets with a limited stake and a limited chance of winning (local forecasts). (7 May 2014, confirmed on 9 May 2018)

Bets with a limited stake and a limited chance of winning (local forecasts). What is permitted and what is not? (7 May 2014, confirmed on 9 May 2018)

On the occasion of the upcoming World Cup Football, same as with previous World Cups – the inclination of citizens to gamble on such large-scale events will manifest itself in a variety of different ways, such as concluding small bets or forecasts at people's local cafés on impulse.

Given the exceptional nature of this type of large-scale events and the popularity of the Belgian football team, an adapted regulation was called for.           

What is permitted and what is not?      
 
  • The regulations
Section 3, 3. of the Gaming Act provides for an exception to operate games of chance without a licence if these are games of chance involving a limited stake and a limited chance of winning.
With the amendment of the Gaming Act, the King is to lay down detailed terms under which such games of chance may be operated. To date however, such a Royal Decree has yet to materialise.
Even though the section deals with card games and parlour games, such small bets may be considered as parlour games within the context of this section.
Failing an implementing order, the Gaming Commission has drawn up the priorities set out below regarding such bets.               
The guidelines below do not apply if a class IV mobile gaming establishment is in place. All the more so as the required channelling  of players to duly licensed gaming establishments takes precedence in that case.               
 
  • Priorities of the Gaming Commission's inspection cell.
The inspectorate will mount an investigation into local forecasts as a matter of priority if:         
- A question is put forward by law enforcement agencies or the Public Prosecution Office and the information on the stakes and the pay-outs that exceed the amounts specified in the previous version of the circular of the College of Attorneys-General with regard to the Gaming Act (0.20 euro stake and 6.20 euro maximum gain);
- Several betting formulas are offered other than win/draw/loss or the exact final score of a given match;      
- Minors (under the age of 18) are found to be present;            
- A commercial circuit is being set up;   
- Publicity is being run for illegal websites or establishments acting as sponsors;            
- The bets are being organised by or in the presence of persons known in criminal circles;
- A class IV mobile gaming establishment is found to be in place.
 
  • The inspectorate shall not mount an investigation into local forecasts as a matter of priority if:
- A single betting formula is being organised per match played on the same day (win/draw/loss or the exact final score) for which the stake does not exceed two euros;   
As such it is irrelevant whether the prize to be won is a cash prize or a material prize. Both constitute elements of gain that qualify the bets as a game of chance. The greater the prize to be won, the greater the likelihood of the Public Prosecution Office or law enforcement agencies asking the Commission to step in, which means it is advisable to contact the Public Prosecution Office and the municipal authority at all times with regard to the intended organisation of local forecast bets.