Online gambling giant bwin.party's co-CEO, Norbert Teufelberger, was arrested in the Belgian capital today while attending the Responsible Gaming Day conference.
Although the full details of the arrest have not been made public yet, the reason for Teufelberger's arrest is believed to be that bwin.party maintained a continued presence in Belgium but did not hold the licenses to do so. The following statement was made by the company confirming Teufelberger's arrest:
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.
Belgium's online gaming has been regulated since the beginning of 2012. PokerStars and other online poker and casino sites obtained an online gaming license from Belgian authorities but the understanding is that bwin.party continues to operate in Belgium without obtaining a license.
bwin.party and the Belgian authorities have been in constant conflict and the arrest of one of bwin.party's most senior managers is the latest addition.The Belgian Blacklist is a list of companies that do not have the needed paperwork to operate in Belgium and bwin.com made the list in May, 2012. The risk for Belgian players that play on any of the blacklisted sites is a fine up to €25,000.
Shortly after being placed on the blacklist, bwin.com switched to www2.bwin.com attempting to contravene Belgian gaming laws. That move backfired. For breaching the current Belgian law, the Belgian Correctional Court fined bwin.party €75,000.
The effect of the latest developments is apparent in the London Stock Exchange with shares in bwin.party falling almost 2.8% to 114.90.
More details on Teufelberger's arrest will be made available at PokerWorks as they become available.