Friday February 28,2014 : BETCLIC ‘SHOCKED' AT NEWS FROM BELGIUM (Update)
But no admissions from online gambling group.
The news that the Belgian Gaming Commission and state prosecution agencies had seized Euro 600,000 of Betclic's funds held in Belgian financial institutions on allegations that the company had provided unlicensed gambling services to Belgian punters appears to have shocked the French company, which reacted Friday by saying it was completely surprised at the news.
Early reports are that the financial institutions reported the funds to the authorities as being transactions involving online gambling.
Under Belgium's energetically enforced anti-online gambling laws, illegal operators can be fined up to Euro 600,000, and even players at unauthorised websites are liable to hefty fines of up to Euro 25,000. Betclic is already on the Belgian's public black list.
Other punitive measures open to the Belgian authorities are the prosecution of board members of offending companies and provisions which allow maximum fines to be boosted in particularly serious cases.
However, Belgium's rather heavy handed approach to online gambling and its disregard of EU principles of free movement of trade and services do not sit well with the European Commission, and Betclic may try to leverage that in fighting back.