In Belgium, the Ladbrokes-branded service of British sportsbetting giant, Ladbrokes Coral Group, is reportedly due to be prohibited from offering any wagers for one day early next month after falling foul of local gaming regulations.

Virtual match betting prohibition:

According to reports from 5 Star iGaming Media and The Brussels Times, Ladbrokes was sanctioned after it admitted to taking wagers from Belgium-based players on the outcome of virtual matches despite the fact that this practice has for all intents and purposes been prohibited since June of last year.

Virtual match wagering involves punters placing bets on the outcome of fictitious competitions and the London-headquartered operator reportedly acknowledged that it had offered such a service to players in Belgium up to March 14.

September 3 penalty:

As a result, all of Ladbrokes’ Belgium-licensed operations including those run by its Tierce Ladbroke SA and Derby SA subsidiaries are to be prohibited from offering any bets to local punters on September 3.

In hitting Ladbrokes with the 24-hour sanction, the Belgian gaming regulator reportedly noted that the operator had ‘not contested the materiality of the facts’ and had carried on offering virtual match wagering ‘until it was legally banned from doing so.’

Operator responds:

In responding to the penalty, Ladbrokes Coral Group told 5 Star iGaming Media that it had indirectly learned of its fate only via a third-party on August 7. It furthermore detailed that it had received an official e-mail from the regulator on Wednesday but that this same day had also seen details of its punishment appear in multiple local newspapers such as La Derniere Heure, Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen.

Ladbrokes Coral Group additionally declared that it ‘deeply regrets that such confidential information is transmitted to the press and to third parties even before it is informed’ and is considering whether to file a lawsuit claiming breach of professional secrecy.

Future challenge expected:

Finally, Ladbrokes Coral Group stated that it will honor the September 3 sanction but nevertheless intends to challenge the penalty before the nation’s highest administrative court, the Council of State.