Poker to be Nationalized in Belgium

The global poker rooms are facing more and more legislation battles around the world. Their major battle is of course the struggle against the enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the US, forbidding them from operating in the country. 

Now it seems that a new battle has emerged, when it has been known that the Belgium government is planning to set new legislation for online gambling. According to the new legislation, only poker websites, physically based in Belgium will be allowed to operate in the country, and will have to receive license in order to do so. 

Foreign companies will be forbidden from operating in Belgium and will actually be blocked by local ISPs. 

This is not the first time that the Belgium government expressed its intentions to nationalize online gambling. The European Commission has blocked its previous attempts to do so, claiming it breaches the EU Free Trade Agreement. 

But now, after Italy and France set precedents to similar legislations, it seems that the EC objection to the move may be weakened. 

Apart from the effect on foreign operators, this new decree is really bad news for Belgium online poker fans. Not only will they be restricted in choosing their favorite online poker rooms but their opponents’ selection will decrease dramatically, thus harming the level of online poker in the country. 

That’s probably why the Belgium online poker community has reacted badly to the recent news. Poker forums were filled in recent days with angered comments on the expected move.