Belgium Could Become USA Test Case

by | Published: Thursday, January 5th, 2012

While the United States remains stuck in a rut when it comes to the legalization of online poker Belgium has taken a massive step forward.

The European nation has this week approved three separate poker websites to operate legally in the country for real money.

Those granted permission include PokerStars, Partouche and Casino777.

Each company is now allowed to create a website using the .be Belgium domain name.

The decision is designed to follow in the footsteps of the French approach by instituting regulations that allow the government to issue licenses to online gambling operators.

The licenses allow operators to create websites for the exclusive use of Belgium players.

As in both France and Italy the websites cannot give international players access or vice versa.

This does create a problem however as there is only a finite number of potential players in the country.

Approximately 11 million people live in Belgium and some argue this may not be enough to sustain three different poker websites.

It does act as an interesting test case though with many states in the USA looking to adopt a similar strategy with an equivalent or even fewer number of people.

Another aspect of the Belgium legislation though is a blacklist, a list of unapproved gambling websites that will be blocked form the country.

It’s not yet known though how effective that will be or how easy players will be able to get around it.

PokerStars made its way into the market thanks to a partnership with online gambling operator Circus Groupe.

“Attracting the world’s largest poker site was made possible by the remarkable work of the Belgian Gaming Commission and the Wallonia Ministry of Finance,” said Circus Groupe CEO Emmanuel Mewissen.

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