Microgaming’s Prima Networks arm has launched its Belgian-licensed poker room for win2day, the interactive division of Casinos Austria.
The Isle of Man-based software developer was already providing casino and bingo – its first Belgian-licensed bingo room in the market – on win2day.be.
Loraine Schoevers, director of Microgaming’s Prima Networks division established to provide operators in France, Italy, Spain and other regulated markets, said: “win2day.be was our first operator in the Belgian market, so it is exciting to see its portfolio developing.”
Co-CEO at win2day.be, Emmerich Hager said that extending the company’s portfolio with the poker room “was the logical next step, to attract the win2day.be players.”
Win2day owner Casinos Austria, which operates the Viage land-based casino in Brussels, is the holder of one of just four online licences so far issued to bricks ‘n’ mortar casino groups in the country.
Unibet announced in August that it had signed a strategic partnership with Rank Group, which operates two casinos in Belgium, to launch online poker and casino in Belgium later this year. PokerStars also launched on a regulated basis back in 2010 via its partnership with Belgian casino owner Circus Groupe.
Online permits have been restricted to licensed land-based betting and gaming entities in Belgium, under the Royal Decree that came into effect on 1 January last year. The Belgian Gaming Commission can issue up to nine A+ licences to casinos, 34 F1+ permits to sports betting operators and around 180 B+ licences to arcade operators.
The four largest internet service providers are also compelled to block sites that are not in receipt of an online gaming permit from the Belgian Gaming Commission, with unlicensed operators facing fines of up to €100,000 and customers of up to €25,000 for playing on unauthorised sites.
The EU Member State was subject to legal challenges from Betfair and Telebet in 2011 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 in the country.
Article written by Stephen Carter