Revenue from the country’s regulated market totalled €969.1 million (£825.7 million/$1.04 billion), according to figures released by the Belgian Gaming Commission (Kansspelcommissie), a decrease from €1.18 billion in 2019-20 and €1.12 billion in 2018-19.
Online gambling accounted for €595.6 million which is a 27.9% increase over the previous year, while land gambling revenue fell 47.7% to €373.2 million.
This was the first time that online revenue exceeded offline revenue, with online accounting for 61.5 per cent and retail accounting for 38.5 per cent.
In 2013, online casino revenue was €277.9 million, accounting for 46.6 per cent of total online revenue. Online slot arcade revenue increased by 26.3 per cent year on year to €156.8 million, while sports betting revenue increased by 27.1 per cent to €161.2 million.
The decline in retail was attributed to measures imposed on land-based gambling establishments such as casinos, arcades, and betting shops as the Belgian government attempted to slow the spread of Covid-19 at the peak of the pandemic.
In this market, land-based sports betting generated the most revenue, accounting for €123.6 million, or 33.1 per cent of total retail revenue. Café revenue totalled €113.7 million (30.5 per cent of the market), arcade revenue totalled €81.1 million (21.7 per cent), and casino revenue totalled €54.9 million (14.7 percent ).
Furthermore, according to Kansspelcommissie, 576,493 consumers planned to gamble online at least once per week this year, up from 502,738 in 2019-20. In the previous year, the average number of unique players on licensed sites increased from 113,302 to 136,888. During the year, online gambling sites welcomed 162,985 new customers.
Retail visitors, on the other hand, decreased from 11,167 to 10,684, representing a significant decrease from 15,710 prior to the pandemic.
In addition, 122 websites have been added to Belgium’s blacklist of illegal operators, with 60 volunteers offering to block access to Belgian players. “The ongoing health crisis and subsequent closures had a significant impact on physical gaming establishments in 2021,” according to Kansspelcommissie chair Magali Clavie.
“Online gambling did grow. There were twice as many players online each day in 2021 as there were three years ago. This form of gambling has surpassed physical gambling for the first time and deserves special consideration because it is more accessible in terms of both space and time and can pose a risk factor for gamblers.
“As a result, protecting online players and gamblers by providing a safe and controlled gaming environment is more important than ever.” “Such an objective necessitates making every effort, conscious or unconscious, to keep them from succumbing to an increasingly large and aggressive illegal offer that provides no protection and undermines the channelling policy.”