Three companies adjusted their target markets today. The move started with the blacklisting of PKR and Redbet yesterday by the Belgium Gaming Commission. Both companies left Belgium almost immediately after this announcement. The two companies not only stopped accepting new Belgian players, they banned the existing players from the country.
The blacklist for online gambling companies in Belgium now totals 96. While Belgium does not ring fence their online gaming market, the European Union country requires licensing for any company to operate within their borders. Licensed companies must have a brick and mortar gambling license as well to be considered. PKR and Redbet do not have brick and mortar operations.
Bwin.party also had an announcement today about Belgium. The bwin skin received a license to offer casino, poker and sports betting to Belgians. This license only applies to the bwin brand; Party Poker will not be licensed in Belgium.
That was not the only news from bwin.party. The company also announced that they would leave 18 markets at the end of April. Those countries are Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Greece, Poland, Romania, Cyprus, Finland, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
Many of these countries do not produce high raking players. This can create excessive marketing and support expenses. Some of these countries are in the gray area when it comes to legalization and regulation of online gambling. The temptation to do business in low profit or potentially illegal markets is lost as bwin.party expands into regulated markets and hopes to enter the lucrative US market. It may also affect potential partnerships like the one bwin.party made with Zynga in the UK or the partnership the company has with MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming in the United States.
Players in these countries must create their bwin or Party Poker account by April 30th. Any player in one of these restricted countries that has an account before the cutoff date will be allowed to continue to play, at least for now.
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