In Belgium, population 10.8 million, there are currently 15,888 people who have requested a ban from casinos. The ranks of those no longer allowed to gamble could grow soon due to a potential new twist on the law.
The Standaard recently reported that, within the next several weeks, the Belgian gaming commission will attempt to automatically exclude anyone with too high a debt load from all casinos, slot arcades and legal gaming websites in Belgium.
National regulations for any gambling ban include all gaming venues, not just casinos.
The new move is just the latest tweak to the system. Last fall, the commission began to allow those dependent on a suspected compulsive gambler to request exclusion of a family member.
“Not your mother-in-law and not as harassment,” said Etienne Marique, chairman of the gaming commission. “It has to be someone who depends on you financially and there has to be a demonstrable problem. For example, we had a child here with a pile of bank account statements that we compared to casino visits, whereby we saw that Dad had a problem and would be better off not going to the casino.”
Those lacking such a thorough paper trail may also request the ban of a family member. In that case, the person in question must appear for a consultation and basically prove they are meeting their financial obligations.
Those banned in this way cannot request a lifting of the ruling for at least one year. Even then, they must demonstrate that they now have enough money to play with and are more in control.