BWIN Founders get Bail

Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger, joint chief executives of BWIN where both told that they could face up to three years in jail if found guilty of violating French gaming laws.

Only the two state funded betting monopolies are legally allowed to take bets from French customers. However, this is a law that has not been exercised until recently. It’s thought that the French authorities where encouraged by the results the Americans had with the recent BoS and SportingBet cases. Perhaps the first time the French have been encouraged by the Americans in a along time.

The new stance is an extremely worrying development for other bookmakers and online casino groups marketing their products to French customers. Last month, the online casino and poker group 888 said it had struck a two-season shirt sponsorship deal with Toulouse football club. PartyGaming's latest acquisition Gamebookers has a similar deal with Nantes to have its name on team strip.

The investigation into BWIN's activities follows a complaint from the French lottery and horse betting operators.

Three years ago, a judgment from the European court of justice, known as the Gambelli ruling, went some way to limiting efforts by EU member states to inhibit online firms from competing with domestic operators. A further ECJ judgment is expected to strengthen the hand of online operators later this year.

Editor, - 2006-09-20 14:00:08

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