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Online Casino News - July, 2008

Belgium on the Path to Liberalizing Online Gambling Industry



  Seed Newsvine

by Mira Patel, News Staff Writer

July 15, 2008

It's only fitting that the home of the European Union would be open and ready to the idea of liberalizing its gambling industry and begin regulating the cross-border online gambling sector. Indeed, Belgium has recently expressed a sincere interest to adopt new legislation that will more adequately cover internet betting, including provisions for private online casino and gaming site operators.

According to a report by Markets and Research, Belgium is the latest of an increasing number of European countries to express a less protective stance on State-run casino and lottery gambling monopolies, and more goodwill toward the online gambling industry as a whole. Although some countries, like Italy and Spain, still have a ways to go, there certainly has been steady progress in liberalizing the industry thanks to outside pressure from the European Union.

Following positive developments in France and Ireland, Belgium has revealed a plan to introduce new gambling legislation that will, in effect, permit the National Lottery to go online. And if that happens, the Belgium Parliament would have no choice but to open the market to private operators, which some analysts think could happen as early as 2009.

While nothing is a 'given' at this point, it would be hard to fathom any updated gambling legislation to not include provisions for online betting. It is the fastest growing sector of the betting industry, worldwide, and is not showing any signs of slowing down - contrary to the land-based gambling industry. Secondly, Belgium's stance on internet poker and online wagering has been relatively tolerant to date - unlike the aggressive and offensive stances taken like the U.S. and France in the past.



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