One of Bwin’s – the massively popular online sports book – co-founders and co-chief executive officers was finally released after being detained for over two hours yesterday by Belgian authorities regarding the company’s “illegal” gambling affairs.
Mr. Norbert Teufelberger was detained following the European Gaming and Betting Association’s yearly Responsible Gambling Day, held in the nation’s capital of Brussels. Mr. Teufelberger had been giving a key note speech at the event on behalf of Bwin.
The Belgian Gambling Authorities have consistently maintained that Bwin is banned in the country for offering their gambling sports book services to the Belgian populace despite not having a Belgian gambling license; something that the company has long since argued is irrelevant and against European Union rules.
Belgian Gambling Authorities speaking after the release of Mr. Teufelberger insist still, that he must be held to account over some serious questions about the legality of Bwin’s operations, and that he must do so by December 17 of this year.
Bwin is currently one of the Belgian Gambling Authorities blacklisted sites, and access to it is blocked by a police enforced internet providers ban. Anybody attempting to access the site is met with an office police warning telling them that the site is blocked and that they cannot gain access, a move which has received harsh criticism from many top online sportsbooks and online gamblers and gambling experts alike over the last six months specifically.
Mr. Peter Naessens, who is one of the legal advisor to the Belgian Gambling Commission, has recently stated that he does indeed feel as though Bwin’s activities in the Belgian gambling market have been of an illegal standard and that they must be held accountable. However, Bwin insist to maintain that the Belgian Gambling Laws aren’t official and that their enforcement is an illegal move against the current EU regulations which require that all member states open up their markets for competing gambling operators.
Bwin (along with many other top sportsbooks) have consistently tried to acquire a license to offer gambling in the country, something which the Belgian Gambling Authorities have denied. Other sports books have also complained about being kicked out of the queue for licenses without reason or explanation. It is thought that the Belgian Gambling Authorities favor local gambling sites, something which would indeed go against the current EU laws on gambling licensing.
A brief press release from Bwin at the time has only stated that Mr. Teufelberger was detained by the gambling authorities of Belgium, and that he complied fully with their interview. Further information regarding Bwin and the Belgian Gambling Authorities is expected shortly.