Online Poker Ban in Belgium defies EU regulations
In a potentially controversial move the Belgian government has defied EU regulations and taken steps to exclude its natives from playing online poker on rooms outside the country.
The country is side stepping the regulations by nationalising online poker and granting licenses to sites based in Belgium. This will give the government ultimate control of the online poker industry in the country and generate massive revenue for the economy.
Players found plying their trade on online sites based outside of the country will be subject to prosecution a move which, unsurprisingly, has spark anger amongst the Belgian poker community. Local card rooms and poker forums are almost in meltdown mode as angry players are venting their outrage. Although the plans have already been rejected by the European Commission in 2009 that hasnít stopped the countryís officials planning the move for late in 2010 or early in 2011.
This will certainly give time for the local poker players to mount some sort of object to the regulation but considering the government have already defied the EC it seems unlikely their pleas will be heard. Italy has already implemented a similar system whereby their citizens are only allowed to access special online poker services designated for them.
Whatever, the outcome it certainly wonít be a good thing for online poker, so letís hope that some sort of sanity can win through and this legislation doesn't come to fruition.