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The official website of Koen Geens, Belgium’s minister of justice, claims that 29,319 Belgians has self-excluded themselves from gambling (both online and offline) in 2017.
The reported figure indicates a 9% rise from that in 2016, when 26,782 opted for gambling exclusion.
Court rulings have banned a further 158,413 people from gambling. Most of the court orders were issued to persons who had accumulated large debts as a direct result of their gambling habits. Under Belgium’s gambling law, a court could ban residents from any form of gambling.
The website also reveals that the Belgian Gaming Commission has banned 409 gamblers from participating in gambling activities after their family members and/or partners requested a ban. The number of excluded and self-excluded people has risen significantly over the past five years. In 2013, only 19,670 gamblers self-excluded themselves, courts banned 82,580 were issued a court order, and the Belgian Gaming Commission banned 89 persons.
The names of all self-excluded players as well as of those banned from gambling as a result from a court ruling or a third-party request are added to a specially created system. Belgium’s Excluded Persons Information System (EPIS) has been active since 2004. It contains information about all gambling customers that have self-excluded themselves or have been banned from gambling. All gambling customers have their names and dates of birth checked into EPIS upon opening an account with a gambling website or entering a brick-and-mortar gambling facility so that excluded persons are prevented from gambling.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events