Online Gambling Battle Lines Being Drawn in Europe

Published Sunday, December 04, 2011 -

Battle lines regarding online gambling in the Euro Zone are being drawn and the map is looking like it will split the European Union into many different sectors despite calls from European members of parliament to keep the laws equal for all.

The next step on the road to unilateral laws for online gambling operators will be rocky as Belgium plans to create a black list of unlicensed online gambling web sites. The country is asking that money processors and internet service providers police the industry with the usual penalties in place for not complying.
At the moment there are only eight legally authorized operators that offer betting services to the public in Belgium. Of those legal sites it has been estimated by the Belgian Gaming Commission that only a small percentage of Belgian players use these services. More than three times as many punters use the ‘illegal’ unlicensed web locations to play. Big operators such as, PMU, Partouche, and PokerStars are not getting the numbers that they would expect.

Belgian Gaming Commission regulatory chief Peter Naessens weighed in on the situation in Belgium revealing that the market could handle as many as twenty licensed operators and that there is one company not expected to be added to that list in the near future.  Amalgamated has been objecting to the rules despite court decisions that say they are wrong. Naessens said, “they’re not interested in having a license or saying they don’t need one as the Belgian gambling act is not compatible with EU law.”
Protests from industry groups like the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) have been constant and loud as Belgium claims it is creating the black list in order to protect the rights of Belgian punters who it says are being taken advantage of by illegal operators.

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