The gambling commission in Belgium is certainly enforcing with full force the new and more strict Belgian gambling laws, especially as these relate to the online poker sites offering betting to the Belgian residents.
The Belgian enforcement is blacklisting a large number of unauthorized poker sites. The only online poker sites in Belgium are the ones which teamed up with land-based casinos and received the gambling licenses. So far, only three sites are allowed and one of them is Poker Stars.
In addition, the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Belgium are required to block access to the blacklisted sites. Moreover, the poker players using unauthorized sites are liable for penalties of up to 25,000 euros ($35,000) and may face criminal charges. At this point, there are 30 poker sites on the blacklist.
The latest regulations are likely to affect the mobile casinos in Belgium as well since mobile betting is done remotely just as Internet-based wagering. Indeed, many casinos simultaneously offer online and mobile casino access to its members.
Some operators in the poker gaming industry are currently consulting with legal counsels to determine if Belgium is violating European Union’s laws. Tough moves, after all, often produce strong reactions.
The move is one of the harshest lately seen in the Western world. The United States anti-poker crusade last year has also been harsh. Now, however, the online poker may return to America as its gambling laws are changing.
Other European countries, such as Italy and France, have also restricted poker gaming to its citizens. As a result, the players in these countries can legally play only against each other, not against foreigners. That’s too bad when it comes to international poker competitions. Some freedoms have been restricted.