Antwerp Police Officers Probed for Allegedly Stealing Identities to Gamble

The Belgian Gaming Commission is investigating Antwerp police officers for having allegedly stolen identities to gamble in brick-and-mortar facilities and online. Members of Belgium’s law enforcement system are prohibited from any form of gambling. Their national registration numbers are included in a special database aimed to prevent them from engaging in any such activities.

News emerged late last week that several police officers from the Antwerp Local Police Service have been probed for playing at local casinos and accessing online gambling websites to wager money. The policemen have been suspected of assuming other people’s identities in order to be able to gamble.

The Belgian Gaming Commission has been reached to address the matter in due manner. The regulator has confirmed that it has launched an investigation and that it is investigating more than one individuals in response to the complaints filed. Peter Naessens, Director at the gambling regulator, has told local media that the probed police officers have not played only recreationally and that commissioners have also acquired evidence that the issue may actually be much larger in scale than initially expected.

Mr. Naessens further pointed out that large amounts of money have apparently been gambled by the investigated individuals, amounts that have surpassed the average monthly wage. It also seems that the issue is of gambling law enforcement members is not just limited to the Antwerp police.

The Gaming Commission is currently addressing recently filed complaints, but has made it clear that it is not within its jurisdiction to investigate gambling within the country’s whole police system. As pointed out by Mr. Naessens, the regulatory body simply does not have the means to conduct an investigation of such a massive scope.

Recent Regulatory Changes in Belgium’s Gambling Landscape

It has been announced earlier this year that Belgian lawmakers would look to curb the proliferation of gambling, including iGaming, among vulnerable people. The nation’s Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) Party introduced back in July a bill that called for the minimum online gambling age to be raised to 21 from 18.

Currently, online lottery and sports betting customers are required to be aged 18 or over to engage in these types of activities. As for the minimum age for online casino gambling, players need to be aged 21 or over.

Another gambling limitation proposal, once again coming from a CD&V party member, included the implementation of certain curbs to the way gambling services are advertised on Belgian television. Under the proposed measure, gambling-related ads will be banned from being broadcast before an 8 pm watershed and during live sports events throughout the day.

Belgium regulated its gambling market back in 1999 when the Betting and Gaming Act was enforced. In 2010, the act was amended to include online gaming and betting services. The country opened its market for regulated services provided by international operators a year later.

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