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Poker News

Belgium blacklists Online Poker

Written By: PokerNet.com | May 23, 2012 | Posted In Poker News

Online Poker limitations have been heavily increased over the past week as the Belgian Gaming Commission has been siphoning its list of available sources and removing the remainder form access.

In accordance with the Belgian Gambling Act, the Belgian Gaming Commission has been assessing the current selection of sites available and has been contacting the four largest Internet service providers in an effort to block consumers from access these unauthorized sites.

Since the beginning of January when the main emphasis of this act came into more heavy effect, only three sites have been approved for online poker within the country.

The process of allowing an online poker site must provide a bricks and mortar casino to partner with the online. Therefore if an online site does not have a bricks and mortar casino counterpart, it will not be approved.

This has been seen to limit the scope of the Belgian online poker market while also deterring a significant number of companies from application of licenses, for fear of being instantly rejected and unable to gain approval.

Currently the approved list of Online Poker websites includes Partouch.be, GPWin.be and PokerStars.be as legally operating businesses within Belgium, which are also partnered with the Circus Groupe as per their allowance agreement.

PokerStars.com BeNeLuz marketing Manager Sander Siezen stated on the matter of acceptance:

“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.”

The blacklisted list of online poker rooms is continuing to expand, with heavy penalties on those who do not heed the warnings of the Gambling act. Currently the penalties for offenders could see €100,000 fined for each indiscretion that is committed by a poker room circumventing this blacklist.

Alongside the penalties for the poker rooms are also player fines, with the possibility for players to be penalised €25,000 if they breach restrictions and participate in an unauthorized site.

The current list of blacklisted sites and services includes up to 30 poker rooms, with the number of barred services expected to expand further in the coming months. The list features even some of the leading online poker site from around the world, including PartyPoker, 888, Bwin, Betsson, Betfair, Titan, Everest and William Hill.

Despite the limited opportunities for online poker in Belgium, there is some reprise. Players participating on approved sites are able to join global betting pools. This is unique in that it sets itself apart from compatriot France, Italy and Spain, which do not allow such a feature.

Source: OnlinePokerNet

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