After recently licensing and regulating internet gambling, Belgium’s Gambling Commission have published an updated blacklist of unlicensed gambling sites which will result in fines up to €25,000 if players in the country are found to be gambling on them. The commission added in a statement that operators who continue to service Belgian players could face fines from €100 to €100,000.
The news comes after the country’s first “A+” licenses were introduced and issued last week to PokerStars, Partouche and Casino777. Golden Palace.be – under domain name GPWin.be – is listed among six other operators on a provisional whitelist of licenses awaiting official acceptance.
The blacklist announced by the gambling commission, however, was first published a week ago – listing ten online gambling operators including poker rooms 888, Everest and Chilipoker. In a report by PokerFuse, a spokesperson for ChiliGaming clarified that Chilipoker “no longer accepts Belgian players” and “expects to be removed from the list” by the time it is published again.
Incriminating and fining players who use unauthorised blacklisted poker sites like this is unique in Europe and means customers must do their research and know which operators exist on which list in order to play safely. As well as this, Belgian ISPs will block players’ access to the sites at the request of the Gambling Authority, and as far as we know – the list has already been forwarded to both ISPs and law enforcement in an effort to crack down on what the gambling authority see as illegal.
Are these ridiculously steep fines yet another sign that online gambling regulation has gone mad?