The number of individuals who are excluded from betting in Belgium has increased, according to the latest figures released by the country’s Gaming Commission.
The figures show that last year the Excluded Persons Information System (EPIS) which records the names of individuals who are banned from attending casinos, visiting betting shops or betting online included 360,553 names.
According to the Commission, individuals can end up on the list for a variety of reasons, either because they have added their name to the list voluntarily, because a family member has added their name, or because a court or legal representative has asked that they be added. It is also possible for people who feel that they might be at risk of gambling in one of the neighbouring countries, to ask for their names to be added to the list.
In addition, some people are automatically banned from accessing gambling due to their occupation. These include notaries, magistrates, serving members of the police force and bailiffs, who might be at risk of extortion if they were to develop gambling debts.
Belgium has strict rules on who can gamble, with an age limit of 21 applying to casinos and the EPIS system has been employed since 2004. Before any individual is able to play any casino game or gamble online, they have to give their personal details, which are then run through the registry.
According to the Commission, just over 10% of the people on the list were voluntary exclusions, while 16% were excluded on account of their profession, 46% through judicial order and 27.9% due to debt agreements. However, the Commission has also pointed out that some individuals may have been included under more than one category, so the total figure may not reflect the real number.