Bwin.party CEO Arrested By Belgian PoliceNovember 13, 2012 4:27 pm
According to recent reports, Bwin.party co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger has been arrested in Belgium, whilst attending the annual European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) Responsible Gambling Day in Brussels. Although exact details have yet to be revealed, it is believed Teufelberger’s detention is related to the company’s continued activities in Belgium, despite not holding the relevant online gaming license.
Following the CEO’s arrest, Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) legal adviser Peter Naessens explained: “Norbert Teufelberger has made comments in the press they continue to operate in Belgium, and so we consider him to be guilty of operating illegally on Belgian soil. Therefore the Belgian police took him into custody today to ask him further questions.”
At the start of this year, online gaming was regulated in Belgium, with operators such as PokerStars, Partouche and GoldenPalace having obtained licences. Bwin.party, however, asserted that Belgium’s new rules breached EU law, and after their www.bwin.com site was blocked and the company placed on the Belgian iGaming Blacklist, they then switched over to www2.bwin.com in a blatant attempt to bypass Belgian gambling laws.
As a consequence, any Belgium customer caught playing on the blacklisted website now risks a fine of up to €25,000, while the company also received a €75,000 fine. Commenting at the time, a BGC lawyer said; “an online gambling operator that willfully chose to undertake illegal activities cannot expect protection from the Belgian courts.”
Meanwhile, this is not the first time the bwin.party co-CEO has been arrested for violating local gaming laws. Back in 2006, Teufelberger spent several days inside a French jail and eventually was released after posting a €300,000 bail.
Following the news of his latest arrest, shares in bwin.party have been trading lower and are currently down 3.98% to 113.50.