The Belgian Gaming Commission yesterday added ten more dot.com domains to its blacklist of unauthorised websites to be blocked by the four main internet service providers in the country.
UK brands Betfred and 32Red Bingo, French horse racing website Zeturf and a William Hill sub-domain, www2.williamhill.com were among the latest urls added to the blacklist, along with iPoker skin RivaPoker.com, Bingocams.com, Real Time Gaming-powered online casino WinPalace.com, Bideyes.com, Gimigames.com and Stargames.com.
Yesterday’s additions take the total number of blocked dot.com domains on the Commission’s hit list to 45, albeit a tiny number compared to the 4,000+ on Italian regulator AAMS’ list of ISP-blocked sites, which has also proved largely ineffective.
According to the amended legislation which came into force on 1 January last year, online operators without a Belgian licence now face potential fines of up to €100,000 for “facilitating”, “advertising” or “recruiting” for illegal games of chance in Belgium. Players in the country also face fines of up to €25,000 for playing on sites that haven’t been licensed by the Commission.
Under the Belgian Royal Decree that came into effect on 1 January last year, online permits are restricted to licensed land-based gaming entities in Belgium, with nine A+ licences on offer to casinos, 34 F1+ permits to sports betting operators and around 180 B+ licences to arcade operators.
The EU Member State was subject to legal action from Betfair and Telebet last year over its requirements for online applicants to hold a land-based licence and to locate servers within the country, and from bwin.party and Bet-At-Home this year over being blacklisted and blocked.
PokerStars and Unibet are the only major pan-European online operators to gain permits from the Belgian Gaming Commission. PokerStars launched on a regulated basis back in 2010 via its partnership with Belgian casino owner Circus Groupe. Unibet last month announced a strategic partnership with Rank Group, which operates two of 11 land-based casinos in Belgium, to launch online poker and casino in Belgium alongside its existing Belgian-licensed sportsbook.