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Thread: A great day for Belgian poker!

  1. #1
    J_Verschueren's Avatar
    J_Verschueren is offline They call me "J"
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    Default A great day for Belgian poker!

    Great news: earlier this week, after a year of on and off negotiations with the Belgian Gaming Commission, a group of poker players has secured an agreement which called for the formation of a Belgian Poker Federation and will allow non-profit organisations who are registered to this federation to organise poker tournaments with a buy-in of up to 20,- Euro outside of casinos. Today the statutes for this Belgian Poker Federation were entered in the national journal, so, it's official: no more gray area at last; legal, real money poker outside of casinos for everyone. Granted, tournament poker only, but a great improvement nonetheless.

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    bambini's Avatar
    bambini is offline Senior Member
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    Default A great day for Belgian poker!

    So what does this mean in practice? Are you talking about home games? Or, say, a social club organising a poker tourney?
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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    J_Verschueren is offline They call me "J"
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    It means non-profit organisations can sell a tournament entry like, e.g., a football club sells drinks and snacks in their canteen or girl scouts sell boxes of cookies door-to-door. Because they are a non-profit organisation and therefore their accounting is completely transparent to the governement, this offers the gaming commission the degree of control over homegame/bargame/fratgame organisers they wanted as their worry is the buy-ins will spiral out of control and attract problem gamblers/criminals.

    A lot of bars already have a biljarts or darts club under the form of a non-profit organisation and fraternities and the organisers of big LAN events are non-profit organisations as well, so there's the practical aspect that those who, before the crack down, organised poker outside of a casino are already part of that structure.

    Homegames are unaffected (*), unless you advertise them and allow the general public to participate. In which case you would need to register an npo, register it with the BPF and do the paperwork associated with the npo (balance sheets) and required by the BPF.

    (*): i.e. it's still technically illegal, but, when "busted" by the police, if you can demonstrate that everyone at a game is part of a group of real-life friends, you will escape legal procecution. They will still confiscate your prizepool, table, decks, chips and laptop (if you use it to run a tournament clock), though. This to encourage people to go down to the pub on the corner and play there, I guess.

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    Default A great day for Belgian poker!

    Ah ok, makes sense. I do find it weird that home games are illegal - sometimes I forget just how liberal the UK is with its gambling laws.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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    Tim's Avatar
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    So, J..... when are we getting an invite to your home game?

    Quote Originally Posted by bambini View Post
    Ah ok, makes sense. I do find it weird that home games are illegal - sometimes I forget just how liberal the UK is with its gambling laws.
    Yes, we're very lucky. We are also lucky when it comes to gambling and taxes (or lack thereof).

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    J_Verschueren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    So, J..... when are we getting an invite to your home game?
    As in the game I play in? -not my decision, I'm afraid. I don't host it.

    I can't invite you along to one of the NPO tourneys either, as you're not a Belgian citizen and one of the requirements for hosting a tourney is writing down all players' national registry number(*).

    If we could get 6 or more Pokerologists in the same place at the same time, I'd be more than happy to host a game (I've got cards/chips/etc.), but I fear that is most unlikely.

    Failing that, if you're ever in Belgium (or the very South of Holland), let me know and we'll grab some food/drinks.

    BTW: gambling/lottery winnings are also tax-exempt in Belgium. The licensed organisers of those games already pay taxes, so the player doesn't have to..

    (*): that's like a social security number (as, for Belgians, it also serves as that), but not quite. Migrant workers can have a social security number in Belgium without having the nationality. The national registry basically lists all living Belgians and, for them, this also identifies them with the internal revenue service and social security.
    Tim likes this.

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