PokerStars, in conjunction with Circus Groupe, has officially launched its Belgian-licensed site pokerstars.be. Circus Groupe, whose operations include Belgian brick-and-mortar Casino de Namur, first teamed up with PokerStars in October 2010. The JV was given conditional clearance by the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) last year, and as of Wednesday is officially recognized to do business in Belgium. BGC chairman Etienne Marique called the announcement “an important step forward for the regulation of online gambling,” while Stars’ biz-dev head Guy Templer said the company was “proud to be among the first fully-licensed operators in Belgium.”
Of course, now that some companies are getting the official pat on the back, others are getting the official bitch-slap. As it was welcoming Stars into the fold, the BGC simultaneously published the first edition of its “blacklist” of non-licensed operators. The list features 10 names: 888.com, Everestpoker.be, Titanpoker.be, Chilipoker.com, Casino.com. Myglobalgames.com, Bingo-round.com, Jackpotcity.com, Casinoriva.com and Megacasino.com. The country’s major internet service providers will now be expected to block access to these sites.
The French Competition Authority has received yet another complaint about the ongoing stranglehold of the horse betting market by former monopoly Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) This latest complaint was filed by rival operator Betclic, following comments in French newspaper Les Echos attributed to Jean-Francois Vilotte, president of French regulator ARJEL. Vilotte was commenting on the latest gaming industry figures that were almost wholly negative, save for horseracing, which was up sharply. Vilotte noted that PMU’s chief competitor, ZeTurf, held only a 10% share of the horse betting market, and the combined rest of PMU’s competition was “marginal,” leaving PMU holding an 85% slice of the horse betting pie.