The State Of Online Poker In BelgiumMay 16, 2012 11:23 am
In accordance with its Gambling Act, at the beginning of January the Belgian Gaming Commission approved three sites for online poker and instructed the country’s four largest Internet service providers to block access to all other unauthorized sites.
In order for the Belgian Gaming Commission to approve a site’s application, it must first be partnered with one of the country’s eight brick and mortar casinos. This obviously limits the scope of the Belgium online poker market while deterring numerous companies from applying for a licence.
So far just Partouche.be, GPWin.be and of course PokerStars.be are legally operating in Belgium, who partnered with the Circus Groupe as part of their agreement. As PokerStars.com BeNeLux marketing manager Sander Siezen said at the time:
“PokerStars.com and the Circus Groupe are logical partner. CasinoDeNamur.be has the largest live poker events offering in Belgium. PokerStars.com is the world’s largest poker site and the largest in Belgium, as well. In addition, PokerStars.com organizes the largest live poker series, the EPT. This is also in line with our global strategy to obtain online poker licensing wherever it is available.”
In the meantime, the list of blacklisted online poker rooms continues to grow in Belgium with a €100,000 penalty awaiting each time an indiscretion is committed by a poker room. In addition, a player faces a fine of up to €25,000 as a deterrent for them not to play on unauthorised sites.
Up until now, there are 30 black-listed online poker rooms on the list, although that number continues to grow. It also includes many of the leading online poker sites in the world, such as PartyPoker, 888, Bwin, Betsson, Betfair, Titan, Everest and William Hill.
The good news for Belgiums, however, is that players on approved sites are able to join global player pools, unlike their compatriots in France, Italy and Spain which are ring-fenced. Mind you that’s probably just as well for a country of just 11 million people.