Belgium has regulated its online poker industry, and this year, the Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) has published a list of legal gaming sites, where players can play freely and legally. The list comprises 2 online sports betting sites, 4 online casinos, and 3 online poker rooms.
Belgians can play legal real money poker at PokerStars.be, GPWin.be, and Partouche.be. Since Belgium has not placed itself in an online gaming cocoon like France and Italy have, Belgian players can play against players from all over the world. Owing to this, the gaming experience at PokerStars.be will be the same as PokerStars.com. This is not the case in Italy and France, where Italian and French players can play only against Italian and French players at PokerStars.it and PokerStars.fr, respectively. GPWin.be is the poker gaming service offered by GoldenPalace.com for Belgians and forms part of iPoker Network.
Partouche.be is the most unique of the 3 online poker rooms because Partouche Poker is a French online poker room, meant only for French players. Since the French version of Partouche Poker is meant only for French players, Partouche.be can be accessed only by Belgian players.
The gaming laws of Belgium allow players to play only on gaming sites in the BGC’s list of approved sites. If a Belgian player is caught playing at an unapproved site, he/she can be fined for it. The country’s four largest ISPs are instructed to block all gaming sites blacklisted by the BGC. Moreover, the Belgian gaming laws require it’s approved gaming sites to have land-based casinos too. PokerStars.be has, therefore, got into an alliance with Circus Groupe while Partouche has 4 land casinos in Belgium. The Golden Palace Group also owns a number of land casinos in Belgium. Simultaneously, the laws in Belgium are also vague. It is still not clear on whether players’ winnings can be taxed.
Players must be 21 years of age or above to register real play accounts at any approved gaming sites in Belgium. Besides, they are required to provide identity proof after making a deposit and before requesting a payout of over €3,000.
Meanwhile, even online poker sites that have not been approved by the BGC are permitting Belgian players to play on their premises. Party Poker and many other poker sites that form part of the iPoker Network allow Belgian players, stating that, since Belgium’s gaming laws are against EU laws, they cannot be enforced.