Circus Groupe and PokerStars, the world's largest online poker site, today announced that www.pokerstars.be has become one of the first online poker sites in Belgium to be officially granted a license under the Casino de Namur A+ license. The site was authorised in 2011 by the Belgian Gaming Commission in a test phase, but has now become officially recognised with a full license.
Mr. Etienne Marique, Chairman of the Belgian Gaming Commission, said: "This is an important step forward for the regulation of online gambling. Not only is the legal framework offering the possibility for operators to offer their online games of chance, but from an economical point of view gambling operators are given opportunities in Belgium. And all this in an environment that protects players more than illegal websites do - for example, excluded players cannot play at licensed websites and an average hourly loss is applicable to each player."
Jean Christophe Choffray, Head of Online Gaming at Circus Groupe, said: "We are delighted that with the great efforts and co-operation of the Gaming Board we have been able to become fully regulated in the Belgium market."
The Belgian Gaming Commission has indicated that beginning this year only fully-licensed operators will be permitted to offer online gaming services in the country and the Commission will actively seek to prevent unlicensed operators from accessing Belgian players.
PokerStars.be is jointly operated with Casino de Namur and is the largest site to be authorised and operational in Belgium. Belgian players are able to play in all PokerStars international tournaments, including the Sunday Million, World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), as well as cash games.
"PokerStars is proud to be among the first fully-licensed operators in Belgium," said Guy Templer, PokerStars' Head of Business Development. "We are delighted to be able to offer a locally licensed product to Belgian players through our partnership with Circus Groupe. This furthers our goal to obtain licences in all newly-regulated markets and we look forward to working with the Circus Groupe and Gaming Board."
PokerStars' latest operational license in Belgium follows other successful approvals in Italy, France, Estonia and Denmark. PokerStars.it launched in October 2008, offering Italian citizens the chance to participate in games organised by the world's leading poker operator in compliance with Italian law. PokerStars.fr, which was granted a license in June 2010, permits similar access for French players. PokerStars.ee brought the same privileges to Estonian players in October 2010, as did PokerStars.dk to Danish players in January 2012.