Trotting races are predominantly more popular in Belgium; however, Thoroughbred flat horse-races also have a separate fan base in the country. The popularity of horse racing dates back to the late 19th century, when it became a formal spectator sport with the establishment of the first racecourse in Brussels.
Presently, the country is home to three major racecourses, including the Hippodrome Waregem, which hosts the Great Flanders Steeple Chase, and the Hippodrome de Wallonie in Mons, Wallonia. The third major racecourse is the Hippodrome Wellington in Ostend, which hosts both flat and harness racing and is home to the famous thoroughbred race Grand Prix Prince Rose.
The Wellington racecourse alone features a race every Monday from June till September. In addition to harness racing, Belgium also features a myriad of gallop races, 180 to be precise, in which around 600 horses participate.
Given the wide number of races in the country, it is no surprise that a substantial amount of money is bet on these events. If you want to be a part of the betting action in horse racing in Belgium, here is a brief guide to lead you in the right direction.
Sports Betting In Belgium
Belgium has a rich gambling tradition. Betting practices in the country date back to the 15th century as betting in one form or the other was prevalent, and the practice became deeply embedded into the society’s culture.
Betting on horse racing was an increasingly popular activity among the residents, as numerous bet shops opened throughout the country. You can place bets in fixed betting shops or mobile shops set up specifically for a particular event.
Online betting in Belgium is, however, another story!
While the rest of Europe was busy banning online betting, it became legal in Belgium in 2002. It remained rather unrestricted until 2009 when the Gambling Act was implemented, and a stricter policy was adopted.
The gambling legislation was enforced in 2011, and a close licensing system was implemented for online gambling, whereby only 34 online licenses were granted for betting. Moreover, online operators were also required to maintain a physical association in the country; for instance, they were obligated to acquire a land-based license and set up land-based servers in Belgium. If they didn’t operate in Belgium, they were not allowed to accept online bets.
Simply put, the legislation implied that foreign betting operators could not operate in Belgium. Any company or individual found to endorse unlicensed gambling services to the residents through associate schemes, or promotional marketing would be subjected to criminal implications. Companies violating the law can face fines up to €25,000, which increase to €100,000 if they do not abstain.
So, companies wishing to offer services in Belgium need an official gambling license, for which they must go through the Belgium Gaming Commission. They need to set up residence in the country, the application for which can cost around €500,000.
How to bet on horse racing in Belgium
With such strict regulations, you may be wondering how to bet on horse racing in Belgium. The good news is that online betting operators conform to the official rules and regulations and operate in accordance with the imposed sanctions.
While major bookmakers like Paddy Power and 188Bet may not be available, many renowned names are operating and offering betting opportunities to individuals across a wide number of betting markets on various horse racing events.
You can participate in parimutuel betting on races abroad or in Belgium. You can also opt for fixed-odd betting on racing taking place locally or internationally.
If you want to bet on horse racing in Belgium, you can refer to various sites, including Bwin, Betfair, Winner, Coral, Betway, etc. You also have access to various payment options for your betting activities, including local and international options.
What payment options are available for Betting Online In Belgium?
Multiple safe and convenient payment options, including PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Paysafe, and Western Union, are available. You can also opt for a bank transfer or your credit or debit card. Many sites offer you popular local payment methods like Bancontact Mobile.
Alternatively, many sites offer crypto sports betting, and you can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to place wagers.