GoldenPalace.be has become the latest site to launch a regulated online poker room in Belgium. Licensed under the domain GPWin.be, the room is on the Ongame Network. The poker room is unconnected to the GoldenPalace.com brand, which operates an international poker room on iPoker.
As reported on pokerfuse last week, GPwin will join independent rooms PokerStars and Partouche and iPoker skin Poker770 as the first licensed rooms in operate in Belgium in 2012. Some confusion surrounds the latter, as only sister site Casino770 is explicitly on the whitelist, but Poker770 has confirmed with pokerfuse that an online poker license will be granted shortly and the room is allowed to continue operating in Belgium until that time.
For Belgian players, the new regulations are permissive compared to existing European regulation in countries like France, Italy and Spain and more in-line with Denmark and Estonia. Player pools are not segregated, allowing PokerStars.be players, for example, to play with the international player pool. Rake structures are the same, although PokerStars recently announced a special VIP system for Belgian players less rewarding that on the international site to compensate for increased operational costs.
Players must be 21 years or older to play, and verification procedures are put in place each time deposits or withdrawals totaling €3k are made. Otherwise there are no restrictions on games or stakes. Notably, international players are also permitted to sign up for Belgian-regulated poker rooms.
Apparently, the four largest ISPs have agreed to block access to sites that are operating without a license, akin to a new law in France. However, no blacklist has yet been published and many major poker rooms and networks currently continue to operate in 2012.