Belgium adds to list of prohibited online gaming operators

May 15, 2012 3:00 AM

Gaming regulators in Belgium recently added to the list of online gaming operators prohibited from doing business in the small country of some 11 million people that is known as the “home of the European Union.”

The additions to the Belgian blacklist may not get the serious attention from members of the Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board, but it is certainly noteworthy that the list reads like a who’s who of online operators hoping to do business in Nevada once the industry is up and running.

The list includes William Hill whose application to buy three Nevada sports books – American Wagering, Cal Neva and Brandywine – may make it to the June agendas of the two Nevada regulatory agencies despite a lot of previous speculation to the contrary.

The same Belgian list also includes Bwin and 888, which collectively have agreements to serve as online operators for the likes of MGM, Boyd Gaming and Caesars.

Influential interests and governmental agencies that pack powerful punches have had much to say about Internet poker during recent months.

Followers of the ups and downs associated with the evolving Internet industry appear mostly content to settle in with the special interest of their choice and watch the show, hoping they have made a good choice.

The question is, who’s listening? What are the decisions that really matter?

A senior executive friend who concedes he long ago stopped trying to imagine why government agencies act as they sometimes do, said, a bit tongue in cheek, “That’s an interesting list if you consider that Nevada has always liked to tout itself as the gold standard for casino regulations.”

In fairness to all, I must point out that one jurisdiction disagreeing with the conclusions of another is not exactly front page news.

We saw this when Nevada and New Jersey landed on separate sides of Pansy Ho’s suitability as an MGM partner in Macau.

But what the Belgian list underscores is that the foundation for a global approach to regulating the very global Internet industry amounts to little more than a series of rough sketches at the moment…the proverbial work of art in progress.

Where does it go from here?

Members of the two Nevada regulatory bodies could not be reached for comment.