Bwin Closing its Online Gambling Operation in Gray Markets, a Clean-Up Act?
Last Friday, Bwin Party Digital Entertainment sent emails that officially gave instructions to its affiliates, to block the entry of new players in the following countries: Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the Ukraine. Except for Argentina, the other countries have one thing in common when it comes to Internet gambling; there are no specific laws that clearly define the legality or illegality of online gambling in their respective jurisdiction.
Although the explanation offered for the drastic move is due to “commercial reasons”, there are those who opine that this is part of Bwin’s clean-up act. This is in view of the online gaming company’s much-publicized entanglement with the regulatory bodies of Argentina and Belgium and that these will likely affect Bwin’s pending license applications to operate in New Jersey and Nevada.
More than four months ago, Belgian law enforcers detained Bwin CEO Norbert Teufelberger in connection with Bwin’s continued defiance to comply with the country’s licensing requirements. After the detention incident, the online gaming company finally relented, settled its long-standing dispute with Belgium’s gaming regulator, and is now a licensed Internet gambling operator in the country.
In August 2012, Argentina’s casino regulator revoked Bwin’s online license for breach of contract, because the latter did not comply with a specific monitoring regulation or even communicated with Argentina’s regulatory body. Since the list of countries includes Argentina, it denotes that Argentina’s revocation of Bwin’s license is for good.