Just when you think that there are enough opponents of online gambling in the multi-lingual country and enough online gambling sites already blocked by the Belgian authorities; they go and do it again. Belgium has taken the dramatic step of adding yet another ten sites to its black list of online gambling sites now forbidden in the country.
The problem began last summer when the Belgian Gambling Authorities demanded that the local police act in getting the Belgian service providers to in the country in accordance with new European Union laws on the subject.
For over a year now, William Hill and other top online gambling sites have been inaccessible in Belgium, leaving many online gamblers frustrated at what they feel is a violation of their rights in a free and unrestricted internet. It isn’t the first time Belgium has made demands on online websites, with ISP blocks wrapping themselves tight around The Pirate Bay and other “illegal” online sites in recent months. Though file sharing sites – The Pirates Bay in particular – have managed to find loopholes around the block, Bwin is the only online gambling site thus far that has managed to do the same.
Now though, Belgium has taken yet another step in the direction of a country who wants online gambling banned. The predominantly Catholic country has added to their blacklist:
- 32 Red Bingo
- Win Palace
- Riva Poker
- Star Games
Recently Betfair joined the list of banned sites, and although there has been talk of Ladbrokes joining the list too, Ladbrokes remains one of the few betting companies in the country o actually have land based betting shops, so this is highly unlikely.
Despite many Belgians wishing online gambling banned, the official reason behind the Belgium blacklist has been given as one that protects those online gambling sites that have a license, by weeding out the illegal competition. What is not mentioned is that obtaining a Belgian gambling license is considered by extraordinarily hard compared to other countries offering similar deals.
Several other sites have also found themselves under the scope of the Belgian Gambling Authority, with Betsson, 188 Bet, any of the Betclic/Everest group, Expekt and Bet-At-Home websites closed to the public in the country.
Opponents of the ban though are still not impressed, specifically when other reasons such as organized crime, the addiction of minors and the vulnerability of players are cited as valid reasons for enforcing the blacklist. These are considered to be petty reasons by the vast majority of Belgian gamers. How many more the Belgians add to their blacklist over the coming months, remains to be seen.