Online gambling heavyweight bwin.party (Pwin) has finally swallowed its pride and decided the lure of a “Belgium dip” is simply too much to resist. eGR is reporting the firm is applying for online and offline sports betting licences for their bwin brand despite only two months ago questioning the Belgian Gambling Act’s compatibility with EU law. Head of the Belgian Gaming Commission’s (BGC) regulatory unit, Peter Naessens, confirmed: “bwin has applied for both a land-based and an online betting licence at the same time, but will need the land-based licence approved first.”
It comes a matter of weeks after the BGC confirmed a blacklist would be drawn up to protect local firms and with it came the reality for Norbert Teufelberger that he didn’t want to be banged up in some Belgian cell for the night. Either that or he’s saving face in the “we’re not criminals, PokerStars are” battle.
Naessens confirmed that La Dernière Heure, a company that sounds suspiciously like the French-translation for the buttocks, and a number of smaller local operators have applied. Two companies that have chosen to stay out of it are StanleyBet and Ladbrokes. Surprising due to the fact they’re the largest land-based sports betting outlets in the country and Naessens confirmed “two of the most important land-based [betting] operators” had expressed an interest in the gaming licences. Neither has applied and as Naessens put it they “will not have first-mover advantage.”
The lists being drawn up will be separate depending on which product is being offered and the clamp down will be on companies offering their services via a dot.com domain. Whether this will affect international companies operating through other domains is unclear with Naessens simply stating: “If they keep offering dot.com poker they could lose their betting licence – they would need to close down their dot.com room.”