Turkish Licensing Issues Expensive for Bwin
September 9, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — The Reuters news agency reports that Vienna listed online gambling group Bwin Interactive Entertainment has flagged a Euro 2.25 million ($3.22 million) hit after a project to obtain a sports betting licence in Turkey failed. The loss came about when the company applied for a licence in Turkey last year, but had not received publicity until the Austrian magazine Profile reported on the matter.
In March 2007 Bwin advised the media that it had decided to temporarily withdraw from the Turkish market following new laws. The Bwin statement revealed that the new law prohibited online games of chance, but it also provided for the possibility of licensing the businesses in the future. This presumably led to Bwin applying for such a licence.
At the time of its withdrawal the company generated approximately 6 percent of its gross gaming revenues in Turkey. Halting business in that nation could mean a Euro 25-20 million drop in gross gaming revenues per year, analysts speculated.
Bwin has been unfortunate in "force majeure" type events beyond its control; in March 2006, it acquired Ongame, which focuses on online poker and operates PokerRoom.com. The acquisition cost the company around Euro 500 million. Bwin later had to write off much of the value after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law in October 2006 in the United States.
Bwin operates under international and regional licences in countries like Gibraltar, Kahnawake, Belize and Germany, Italy, Mexico, Croatia, Austria and the United Kingdom. The group, which is a leading member of the EGBA, offers sports betting, poker, casino games and soft games with most revenue coming from poker and sportsbetting. Competence centers are located in Vienna, Austria, Stockholm, Sweden and Gibraltar.
The parent company, Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since March 2000.