Belgian regulator provides advice for players in lockdown
The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has published advice to help consumers protect themselves from gambling-related harm while the country remains on lockdown during the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Belgium began a nationwide lockdown on 18 March, and while this had been due to run to 5 April, the government this week extended the measures to 19 April. Plans are in place extend the lockdown further should the number of coronavirus cases and hospital admissions not decline by this date.
The BGC said it is aware that during the period of lockdown, more people may access igaming services and potentially suffer gambling-related harm.
As such, it has published consumer advice to help combat any potential issues, including allowing players to self-exclude from all licensed gambling websites in Belgium via email.
The BGC said anyone concerned about their gambling habits can call the ‘SOS Jeux’ helpline and speak to an advisor about their problems. Consumers can also contact the BGC directly via email if they have any questions or concerns.
In addition, the BGC advised players to keep in touch with family and friends on the phone or via video call to help pass the time during lockdown.
“While gambling has never been the solution to any problem, the current situation could see people spending more time on the internet especially on gaming sites,” the BGC said. “In addition, many people lose social control because they are alone at home.
“Thefore, there is a risk new players will become addicted or that existing players will sink further into addiction. It is of the utmost importance that the players, and in particular the vulnerable players, are not forgotten.”
The BGC is the latest national regulator to offer support to consumers during the coronavirus crisis. The British Gambling Commission and Denmark’s Gaming Authority (Spillemyndigheden) have also issued advice to players.
In addition, Gamstop, the UK’s online gambling self-exclusion scheme, urged people worried about gambling while at home during coronavirus lockdown to exclude from all igaming sites to protect themselves from harm.