Posted 3/4/11 : Isle of Man-based online poker giant brings October 2010 deal closer to fruition
 
The world's largest online poker provider, Pokerstars, has moved a step closer to Belgian operations this week with the start of trials on its Belgian domain.
 
In October last year, the company partnered with the Belgian land gambling operator Circus Groupe to ensure compliance with proposed Belgian legalization legalising and regulating online poker in the country.
 
The tough and somewhat parochial regulatory regime, which restricts the number of online licenses to 34, is expected to be confined to existing land-based Belgian companies, with the initial awards scheduled later this year.
 
Online gambling will be controlled by the Belgian Gaming Commission.
 
Circus Groupe numbers top Belgian casino and poker venues among its subsidiaries, including Namur Casino and Casino de Spa. The group's partnership with Pokerstars complies with Belgian regulatory requirements and will allow Belgians to participate on the world’s largest poker site in international tourneys. Participants can also qualify for the biggest live events across the world, such as the PokerStars European Poker Tour.
 
Sander Siezen, marketing manager for PokerStars Benelux, said late last year: “PokerStars and the Circus Groupe are logical partners. Namur Casino has the largest live poker events offering in Belgium. PokerStars.com is the world’s largest poker site and the largest in Belgium as well. In addition, PokerStars organises the largest live poker series, the European Poker Tour (EPT). This is also in line with our global strategy to obtain online poker licensing wherever it is available.”