Sportingbet & Bwin gambling talks off

British online gambling company Sportingbet PLC announced yesterday that takeover talks with Austrian-based internet bookmaker Bwin had been terminated by mutual consent.

As a result, shares in Sportingbet plummeted by nine per cent.

"On March 7, the board of Sportingbet announced it was in discussions with Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG regarding a possible acquisition of Sportingbet. These discussions have now been mutually and amicably discontinued," the company said in a statement yesterday.

The warning signs had been there when Sportingbet announced their quarterly results, adding that they were still in discussions with Bwin but talks were encountering difficulties regarding legal and regulatory issues currently affecting the online gambling industry.

Sources close to the situation believe that was indeed the reason why discussions between the two companies were unsuccessful – likewise, the breakdown in talks between Ladbrokes and 888.

The legal complexities arising from the introduction of last year’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in the United States and the current indistinct laws concerning the European gambling market have hindered mergers and takeovers as gambling companies seek consolidation amid uncertainty.

However, the European Commission are seeking to clarify this grey area and essentially open up the European gambling industry by removing unjustified state-run monopolies and promoting the development of competition. Italy and Sweden in particular have been targeted by the European Commission.

Editor, - 2007-07-05 10:58:48

Online Casino Gambling at