Tuesday May 29, 2012 : BLACKLIST LOCK-OUT ISSUE GETS NASTY IN BELGIUM
Counter-action launched against Bwin.Party
The Belgian government launched counter-litigation against Bwin.Party this week in response to the gambling group's legal challenge to its inclusion on a blacklist that could lead to ISP blocking from the European nation's market .
Major UK and European online gambling companies appear to have been selected for the black list with maximum publicity in mind, but some legal sources have opined that such selectivity whilst ignoring other companies engaged in similar activities could be regarded as discriminatory in European Union and other terms.
The new development surfaced in a legal company advisory after lawyers argued the issue in a Belgian court Friday, with the government requesting a clear judgement on Bwin.Party's alleged illegality and an order that the European gambling giant return all player deposits made subsequent to the May 9 blacklisting.
The advisory also warned that companies named on the list may not be aware that they had been selected, and that the window of opportunity to appeal the listing and possibly avoid being blocked ends on June 8.
Lawyers for the government argued that the Belgian regulator is empowered by Belgian law to use blacklist and ISP blocking tactics, and that online gambling without the necessary licensing is manifestly illegal in Belgium.
The court will announce its findings on June 25, but it appears that this legal wrangle will continue for some time.