Betclic Everest Group pays €80k fine, gets name off blacklist, preps Belgian return

betclic-everest-circus-groupe-belgiumFrench gambling operator Betclic Everest Group is planning to re-enter Belgium’s online gambling market after having its name expunged from the country’s blacklist.

Betclic Everest made the very first blacklist issued by the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) in 2012. In February 2014, the BGC seized €600k of Betclic Everest funds in transit to and from Belgian players. This May, the BGC fined 79 players €200 apiece for gambling with a site not holding a BGC license.

On Wednesday, the BGC quietly removed four Betclic Everest domains from the blacklist. On Thursday, eGaming Review reported that Betclic Everest had agreed to pay €80k to cover the total fines levied against roughly 160 of its Belgian players, who’d been hit with individual fines ranging from €200 to €11k.

Betclic Everest has also begun talks with Belgian land-based gaming operator Circus Groupe regarding a potential tie-up. Betclic CEO Isabelle Andres expressed optimism that a new site would be offering sports betting and casino products by the end of the year. Circus Groupe has made similar deals with the likes of PokerStars and Evolution Gaming.

The BGC, which requires all its online licensees to partner with a domestic brick-and-mortar partner, said Betclic Everest’s recent moves showed that the company had demonstrated a “fundamental respect” for the Belgian Gaming Act. The BGC maintained its determination to punish noncompliant operators but “those with an obvious willingness to respect Belgian legislation may obtain a license.”

In less positive Belgian news, UK betting operator Ladbrokes has turfed the director of its Belgian digital division. Gildas Tanguy was appointed head of Lads’ Belgian online operations just six months ago but was shown the door following a recent company review. International digital director Ian Catchick will assume Tanguy’s duties while the company searches for a permanent replacement.