Residents of “Europe’s most boring country” will be able to spice up their life with a home-grown online punt as soon as NEXT YEAR.
The National Lottery in Belgium — notorious throughout Europe as a country where nothing ever happens — says the move will offer nationals “a safer alternative” to online gambling with offshore operators.
Online gaming got the nod back in January 2002 when Belgian MPs approved changes to the whole Lottery system but it has taken SEVEN YEARS for the state-owned operator to get serious about the plan.
Finance Minister Didier Reynders told Belgian parliament the House of Representatives that the evolution of the web was irreversible: “More and more persons use the internet to purchase a variety of legal and illegal services and goods,” he said.
“If the National Lottery is expected to fulfil the objectives it has been tasked with by law and by management, it should follow this evolution.”
First to go live will be limited to existing draw games such as Lotto, Keno, Pick 3 and Euro Millions, Reynders said: “as experts agree that these represent the lowest risk of causing problem gambling.”
But online gaming would follow to compete with foreign offerings, he added.
Reynders said the Lottery would use all means to promote responsible gambling and to protect “at risk” groups, including electronic age verification tools and time and spending limits for users.