Many countries are making their own laws regarding online gambling and are ignoring European Union trade agreements in the process. The latest to do so is Belgium, where lawmakers have inked new laws in an effort to regulate online gambling in the country.
Belgium lawmakers felt that the current Internet gambling system was being corrupted by organized crime. They believe that regulations would keep the crime out of the industry, but what they have come up with is in direct violation of EU agreements.
The European Union warned Belgium in a letter back in June of last year that these new laws would be a violation. Belgium, however, ignored the warning, and created new regulatory laws to oversee Internet gambling, more specifically, online poker.
Some of the top online poker players in the world reside in Belgium. With the new laws in place, major poker sites such as PartyPoker, Full Tilt, and PokerStars, would not be permitted to accept players from Belgium. That means that the top players could only play while putting themselves at risk of arrest.
The EU has not been consistent in their upholding of agreements. While Belgium and France has been warned about their nationalization of online poker, other countries such as Italy have been permitted to regulate their online gambling industry.
The US, which is the biggest online gambling market in the world, has been in violation of EU agreements since they enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act back in late 2006. Lawmakers in the US, however, are in the process of attempting to overturn the UIGEA and set up a regulated Internet gambling industry in the country.