Online Gambling News from Belgium, Greece and GeorgiaBy: Joe Valentino, Thursday December 15th 2011
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In the last few days there have been different types of news about online gambling in different countries in Europe.
The news from Belgium is not good for online casino players. The country is pressing ahead with its draconian and inequitable new online gambling regulation, disregarding all criticisms. From January 2012 Internet service providers like Telenet, Belgacom, Base and Mobistar will be required by law to block online gambling web sites that do not have a license to operate in Belgium. The Belgian Gaming Commission has already provided Internet service providers with preliminary black lists of online gambling sites that are active in Belgium but not licensed under the new Belgian regulations. The black list will be regularly updated. A white list has also been prepared recording the online gambling sites that have been licensed by the Belgian Gaming Commission. The Gambling Commission will target those illegal sites with the largest player bases first. It has been estimated that about 40,000 Belgians wager on licensed online casinos and other gambling sites, but four times this number wager on unlicensed foreign sites offering more competitive terms. By enforcing the blocking of these sites, the authorities hope to steer players to the licensed operators. It is expected that the foreign online gambling companies will respond by initiating litigation that will eventually end up at the European Court of Justice.
On the other hand, reports from Greece indicate that it is facing difficulties in tackling unlicensed online gambling operators. Greek members of parliament were briefed on this by Evgenios Giannakopoulos, the president of the Committee of Surveillance and Control of Gaming. Giannakopoulos pointed out that companies involved in unlicensed gambling in Greece earn about €7 billion a year in revenues that are not taxed. This results in the loss of millions of euros for the government's treasury. He said that tracking down the illegal gaming was a very difficult and time consuming task and the committee will begin getting results only in about six months time.
Georgia is a Eurasian country where online casinos are flourishing. It has been reported that the growth of online casinos in Georgia is double that of the global rate. This has been attributed to increasing Internet access in the country. Launching an online casino in Georgia is much easier than getting a license in any other jurisdiction according to the Georgian news site The Financial. The gambling laws in Georgia require that a license for establishing a land casino be obtained as a prerequisite to operating an online casino. This license costs a little under £2 million. The first online verticals to enter the Georgian online gambling market were casino and poker. Now new products like totalizators are being introduced, which are intellectually high-level games.
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