Betway faces Belgian troubles for unclear corporate structures

Kansspelcommissie – the Belgium Gambling Commission (BGC) is reported to be weighing up hefty sanctions against online gambling group Betway with regards to not disclosing transparency in its corporate ownership structures and further breaching BGC licensing frameworks.

This week, BGC official Marjolein De Paepe stated that the commission had begun sanction procedures against Betway citing “cumulative licences and a lack of transparency”.

Betway has operated in the Belgian online gambling marketplace since July 2015, having secured its operator licence through a partnership with Grand Casino Brussels – a land-based casino property operated by Casinos Austria International.

BGC licensing conditions require all remote gambling operators to partner with a registered Belgian gambling enterprise, while Kansspelcommissie only permits one licence category per Belgium remote incumbent.

A BGC probe carried out in 2017 found that a Betway ‘affiliated unit’ had received a BGC gambling machine manufacturer licence, breaching the Kansspelcommissie licensing policy.

Furthermore, ‘Betway Malta’  – the subsidiary which was officially granted the BGC online gambling license by Kansspelcommissie – had failed to disclose its full corporate ownership structure, a key requirement of Belgium financial regulatory codes.

Betway’s obscure corporate make-up had raised concerns of national media, as the bookmaker had secured prominent partnerships with Brussels football club RSC Anderlecht and the Royal Belgium Football Association, as betting partner of the Croky Cup.

The BGC has yet to confirm penalties against Betway, stating that charges are being weighed up by its committee members, with Marjolein De Paepe citing a number of potential outcomes.

“Kansspelcommissie can close the investigation, carry out additional investigations, start sanction procedures, the representatives can inform their ministers about the situation,” she said. “This depends on the assessment that the members of the Gaming Commission indicate this dossier.”

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