01/03/2012 : Large, well-established firms in first tranche of licenses
 
The controversial Belgian regulatory process moved forward as the new year started with the announcement by the Belgian Gaming Commission of the first three online poker licensees…accompanied by a threat that unauthorised operators seeking to access the Belgian market would be blocked.
 
The small European nation's four main ISPs have already agreed to cooperate in such blocking initiatives.
 
Belgium is pressing ahead with its restrictive and parochial regulations despite a less than enthusiastic response from the European Commission, which last year issued a negative opinion on certain aspects of the at that time proposed Belgian regulations.

The licensee announcement names three approved sites: PokerStars.be, Partouche.be and Casino777.be, all of which have ties with Belgian entities and are to be joined soon by four online casinos associated with Belgian licensed live venues and two sports books.
 
There is still some uncertainty over tax on winnings due to the lack of clarity on this issue in the regulations, a situation that players will want to see resolved sooner rather than later.