The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators (BAGO) has taken a significant step to address problem gambling by creating a self-imposed mandate for Duty of Care. This marks an important move by the country’s major operators to identify and prevent problem gambling.

The charter, which was signed on Tuesday, has been implemented by six of Belgium’s largest operator groups, including the Ardent Group, Betfirst, Golden Palace, Kindred, Napoléon Sports & Casinos, and Starcasino groups. These operators represent 70% of Belgium’s gambling sector, and other private operators have been invited to co-sign the agreement.

The creation of the BAGO Duty of Care comes in response to what the Association views as “demonisation” by the Belgian political sector. Emmanuel Mewissen, CEO of Ardent Group and vice president of BAGO, expressed the Association’s frustration, stating that the sector is worth €2bn, not the exaggerated €20bn figure that has been falsely claimed.

The BAGO Duty of Care outlines four pillars of focus, including a uniform detection system, player communication, staff education and training programs, and developing an environment for responsible and safe gambling.

The operators are committed to using algorithms and artificial intelligence to identify problematic gaming behavior at an early stage and offer players solutions, including advising them to register on the country’s self-exclusion platform. This is seen as a useful addition to other existing protective measures. The operators believe that it is only the regulated sector that will apply the rules for protecting players from the black market, especially after the government’s decision to impose a ban on nearly all gambling advertising nationwide from 1 July 2023, which has been characterized as a boon to the illegal market by the industry.

Overall, the BAGO operators’ efforts are aimed at creating a safe and responsible gambling environment for players, combating problem gambling, and protecting them from the illegal gambling market.

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