Belgium: Bet-at-home the latest operator to challenge the blacklist

It was announced in Belgian media this weekend that Malta-based Bet-at-home.com Entertainment Ltd., an online sports betting and casino games operator, has initiated legal proceedings against the Belgian State by means of an interim procedure before the Brussels’ Court of First Instance. Bet-at-home, who has not been granted a license to operate in Belgium by the Belgian Gaming Commission, is blacklisted on the Gaming Commission’s website since 9 May 2012 and by the present proceedings follows in the footsteps of bwin.party who already claimed the illegality of the Gaming Commission blacklisting and blocking practice.

Taking into consideration the Court President’s recent ruling against bwin.party in the above cited procedure, Bet-at-home now seems to invoke some additional legal grounds to motivate its resistance against being blacklisted (and potential blocking of its website as a result therefrom). According to press coverage, Bet-at-home amongst others refers to the eCommerce Directive 2000/31 and its provisions on (the lack of) internet “filtering” obligations of internet intermediaries. In addition, Bet-at-home seems to invoke some sound arguments based on data protection legislation.

A first audience in the Bet-at-home case is scheduled on 16 July coming, during which the case will either be delayed or during which parties may already present their arguments before the Court’s President.

Should you have any further questions on this matter, please contact Patrick.Vaneecke@dlapiper.com or Antoon.Dierick@dlapiper.com