PokerStars is one of three online card rooms approved for Belgian players, according to a list published by the Belgian Gaming Commission this week. PokerStars.be, Partouche.be, and GPWin.be, as well as four casino sites and two sports betting sites, are all eligible to serve players from Belgium as the country finally opened up to gaming.

Belgian Gaming Laws

The road to legal online gaming in Belgium has been complicated and the country hasn’t always been warm to international igaming companies.  Back in 2009 the country was chided by the European Commission for blocking out foreign gaming sites. In fact, many industry watchers have compared the Belgium’s efforts to regulate online gambling to Spain’s, and that’s not  a compliment.

Regulatory Hoops

Given the country’s record on iGaming, it’s should come as no surprise that the government approved poker sites still have to jump through plenty of regulatory hoops. The biggest hurdle is a regulation stating that all online sites must have a land based operation in Belgium and that servers must eventually be located there as well. But Belgian players will be allowed to play against international players once they’ve logged on an approved site.

The gaming companies on the approved list have obviously gone along with this rule, but other sites, notably PokerParty and iPoker, aren’t playing along. They’ve stated that the Belgian regulations aren’t enforceable and will continue taking players from the country.  Citizens of Belgium who visit unauthorized sites may face stiff fines. The biggest Belgian Internet providers will also be blocking unauthorized sites based on a government black list.

What it Means for Affiliates

Online gaming in the European Union countries is still very much a work in progress and that means there’s plenty of untapped potential on the Continent. Affiliates and webmasters should keep abreast of developments in this part of the world by following continuing coverage on the CAP News and Forum pages as these stories unfold.


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