Belgium: bwin.party takes aim at the licensing conditions

Belgium has forged ahead with a licensing system for online gambling that requires any licence holder to either already operate a land-based gambling business or partner with one that does, despite clear protests from the European Commission based on the allegedly discriminatory nature of such a requirement.

The Belgian Gaming Commission publishes a ‘white list’ of websites (having obtained a license to operate) and a ‘black list’ (prohibited websites).

View the black-listed websites by going to the banner on the top of the page and selecting Mei 2012 : eGames – Black list : Lijst van de verboden sites.

The Belgian authorities have recently updated the black list. Being on this list has clear financial implications for those operators who have taken the decision to continue to take Belgian business in light of purported inconsistencies between Belgian gambling law and Belgium’s commitments under European law. One of the operators on the black-list is bwin.com.

The Belgian media announced today that bwin.party has initiated legal proceedings before the Court of First Instance in Brussels, aiming its claim against the Belgian State (Minister of Justice) and the Belgian Gaming Commission. We understand bwin.party has initiated interlocutory proceedings, claiming high urgency due to the fact that it is suffering substantial financial losses on a daily basis by being added to the black list.

The president of the Court of First Instance in Brussels has set a hearing for 25 May to decide whether to dismiss this claim or allow to proceed. We will update this entry when the president’s decision is known.