Population 2019: 11,5 million
GDP 2019: 473 billion EUR
GDP per capita 2019: 41,289 EUR
Taxation for Lotteries: None (Belgium only has one lottery)
Charity lotteries allowed:
No, only locally

LEGISLATION

The current legal framework for lotteries stems from the Law on Lotteries of 1851 and the National Lottery Act 2002. Since 1851, lotteries are prohibited in Belgium unless they have the public benefit as their principal aim. The exclusive right to organise lotteries for public benefit in Belgium is in possession of the Nationale Loterij (National Lottery) since 1991. Other small-scale lotteries may be arranged at the local level and are carried out under the control of the provinces or the municipalities. In addition, the organisation of the instant lottery and the lotto are also exclusively reserved to the Nationale Loterij. Belgian law makes a distinction between games of chance and lotteries. As a consequence, the Belgian Gaming Commission, established in 1999, supervises all sorts of games of chance, but not the National Lottery. The Nationale Loterij falls under the direct control of the Belgian government, which in turn is controlled by parliament. The minister of Finance, for example, reports annually to the parliament on the operations of the Nationale Loterij, and all playing rules have to be approved by the minister, which are then laid down by a royal decree. This way, the minister of Finance decides if new games can be offered and under what conditions.

The daily organisation is strictly tied to requirements as well, which are laid down in a five-year management contract with the Belgian state. The Nationale Loterij must also submit a business plan every year to the Minister of Finance. Decisions with budgetary or financial implications are additionally controlled by the Minister of Budget. The supervision by the ministers is exercised by a government commissioner, who can visit every meeting of the governing bodies of the Nationale Loterij. Although the Gambling Commission is not qualified to control the games offered by the Nationale Loterij, they can monitor if the royal decrees are being carried out.

OTHER LOTTERIES

NATIONALE LOTERIJ

As the Nationale Loterij has the monopoly on organising lotteries at a national level, no other nationwide lotteries exist. At the level of municipality or province, however, it is possible to receive an incidental license to organise a raffle or a tombola. The license can only be awarded if the profits of the tombola are exclusively destined for the public benefit. Since the Nationale Loterij does distribute a part of the sales to good causes, it is mentioned below. However, the lottery does not meet the criteria of a charity lottery.

The Nationale Loterij changed in 2002 from a semi-public institution to a limited liability company governed by public law, as set out in the National Lottery Act from 2002. The Belgian state is the only shareholder, and the Belgian Minister of Budget and Government Companies is the supervisory authority of the Nationale Loterij. The lottery is obliged to actively cooperate in the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction by supporting initiatives in these areas.

In order to fulfil the criterion of a lottery for the public benefit, the Nationale Loterij must reserve a part of their turnover for subsidies. The total amount is set each year by the Belgian cabinet via a Royal Decree. The subsidy for 2019 was set at € 185.3 million (±14% of turnover), which is to be divided between the federal level (73%) and the three Belgian Communities (27%). The respective governments subdivide the subsidies.

Subsidies for the federal level go to areas with a humanitarian, social, scientific, cultural, sports, educational or national heritage character. In addition, subsidies are granted to four fixed beneficiaries, including the National Disaster Fund and the King Baudouin Foundation. At the level of the Communities, the subsidies go to initiatives and projects with relation to the disabled, the elderly, the environment, education, and sports.The 2018 turnover of the Nationale Loterij was € 1.328 billion. Of total sales, 69% was distributed as prize money. For more information see www.nationaleloterij.be