Temporary license suspension in Belgium for Ladbrokes
The globally renowned sports book company Ladbrokes, has been sanctioned by the Belgian gaming regulator, for allowing Belgian punters to place bets on virtual matches. Whilst this may not seem outrageous to most, Belgian residents are not permitted by law, to place wagers on the outcome of virtual matches – this law came into effect in June 2017. Ladbrokes continued to offer these services up until March 2018, even though it was not supposed to. Despite Ladbrokes being a British sports betting company, it is a trusted and recognised brand around the world. A series of successful television campaigns from ex-professional footballer (and funny man) Chris Kamara, have made Ladbrokes increasingly popular.
What are virtual matches?
Virtual sports betting has become extremely popular, due to video games such as Football Manager and FIFA and it’s a simple game to grasp; players gamble on the outcome of the event (or team), analysing the odds, fake history and even made-up profiles of the players in that team. The game will play out before your very eyes, with crystal clear graphics and sounds which will allow you to believe you are in the arena (or stadium) watching the event unfold.
Due to Ladbrokes allowing prohibited bets, there will be a 24hour sanction on September 3rd – this means all of Ladbrokes Belgium-licensed operations (this includes Derby SA subsidiaries and Tierce Ladbroke SA), will not be allowed to offer any bets at all, to local residents. According to local media, Ladbrokes failed to contest the facts, so as a result of allowing the illegal wagers, they will be shutting up shop for the day.
Nobody told me!
Ladbrokes Coral Group reportedly told iGaming Media that it only learned of the temporary ban from a third party. August 7th, Ladbrokes learned of its fate in many local newspapers and only after this, they received an official email from the BGC detailing the upcoming ban. Whilst Ladbrokes expressed that it ‘deeply regrets that such confidential information is transmitted to the press and to third parties even before it is informed’ and are now considering whether a breach of professional secrecy has taken place – if so, they may file a lawsuit.