In February 2013 the Belgian Gaming Commission added four more banned online casinos to its blacklist and several more were added this month bringing the total to 69.
There is much controversy surrounding a blacklist of online gambling web sites compiled by the Belgian Gaming Commission. To date there are 69 online gambling sites which are banned in the country and the Belgian Gambling Commission doesn’t intend to stop there, more websites will be added to the blacklist over time. The Belgian government has made the decision to IP block any online casino operators who attempt to offer internet gambling services to Belgian internet players without holding a Belgian gambling licence.
The main problem for online casino operators who wish to provide their services in Belgium is not only the fact that they must have a gaming licence from the Belgian Gaming Commission but also that to acquire this licence they must form a partnership with a Belgian land based casino. The sites featuring on the Belgian blacklist have not applied for a licence but this is not as straight forward as it appears. There are some obstacles to be overcome before partnerships with land based casinos can be made. One problem is that there is only a certain number of land based casinos in the country and also some of these have no desire to form a partnership with an online gambling website. Since only Belgian land based casinos can apply for an online gaming licence there have been accusations of protectionism.Some well known online gambling websites such as William Hill, Betfair and 888.com feature on the Belgian blacklist and Bwin.party was also on the list until recently. Bwin.party did not apply for a Belgian gambling licence as the company claimed that the Belgian government was breaching European Union law allowing the free movement of services within the Union member states. In the end Bwin.party did form a partnership with the Belgian Bel Casinos group, which is part of the French Partouche Casinos company, and so was granted a licence to operate in Belgium offering online poker and casino games.