EGR Magazine has further information on Belgium’s legislation to regulate poker in the country. It is believed that the Belgian Gaming Commission has decided to continue to allow further poker sites to apply for gaming licences, to legally operate their poker services to the Belgian community, at least throughout the first half of the year.
Since 2011, there were eight licensed operators in the country, Pokerstars, Partouche, PMU, Casino770, Wimigames, Circus, GPWin and MagicDice. Of these, only Pokerstars, Partouche, and Casino770 have acquired licenses, along with GoldenPalace.be. They will continue to operate poker tables in 2012 when legislation is operational, but applications are still being taken.
Unibet, a poker site that has recently acquired licensing to operate their service in France, will also attempt to apply for Belgian licences, as stated by Peter Naessens, head of the BGC’s regulatory unit.
“Unibet has asked for a land-based betting licence as a starting point – we will discuss this in the coming months and if and when they get that they can go for an online licence. If they have a licence they can begin operating immediately, and I expect if they are successful then the online gambling licence would be awarded in the first half of 2012.”
He also announced that other major European networks have also applied for licences, but has not yet stated who.
“We have interest from others and have major European operators who have shown interest in operating there, so we are seeing what we can do,” added Naessens.
“It’s difficult to say what will happen at the moment but we will look at each demand separately and if an operator is willing to respect legislation then there won’t be any problem,” he explained.
On top of the accepted sites, Naessens also stated about the blacklist, which will prevent financial institutions from having connections with poker sites which are to be unlicensed. It is believed that up to one hundred poker sites can be blocked from operating in Belgium by the end of 2012.
However, arguments are still being made by gaming operators who are to be blacklisted, stating that they’re fully confident that they are complying to EU law, with Naessens stating that the constitutional court within Belgium believe the legislation and EU law to be fully compatible. The story continues.