European Online Gambling Executive Detained in Belgium

Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - Online-Casinos.com

The tempest the teapot may be the story in the latest news regarding the Belgium Police taking into custody one of Europe’s movers and shakers in the online gambling industry. Bwin.party digital entertainment co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger, has been detained in Belgium while he attended the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) Responsible Gambling Day in the capital of Brussels.

GamblingCompliance magazine quoted the legal advisor to the BGC Mr. Peter Naessens with the comment, “Norbert Teufelberger has made comments in the press they [Bwin.party digital entertainment] 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.”

This is a fairly harsh public response to what some organizations call the non-compliant Belgian iGaming Blacklist which Bwin.party has refused to submit to. There are fifty online gambling operators on that list compiled by the Belgium government to enforce their particular legislated restrictions on internet wagering. Confirmation of the arrest by the firm was followed by a statement released promptly when the news broke, it read, “In response to press reports this afternoon, the Group can confirm that Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEO, was requested to attend an interview with the Belgium authorities. He complied voluntarily with this request and is co-operating fully with the authorities. We will issue further details in due course.”

Regulatory changes recently in Belgium are costing the company dearly at an estimated €700k a month. The executive has been maintaining that the services provided by Bwin.party will continue in Belgium despite the hotly contested issues between Belgium and Bwin.party. In 2006 Norbert Teufelberger was detained in France after being charged with violating French gaming laws. The two Bwin bosses were each required to pay bail of €300,000 (£202,000) in order to cover any potential fines while at the time no official charges had been laid. It will be interesting to see how this tempest plays out for Bwin.party and Norbert.

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