July 29, 2008

One Sportingbet employee released, no formal charges for other detainee

One of Sportingbet’s two employees detained by the authorities in Turkey has been released without charge and has returned to the UK, while the other has been refused bail and is awaiting formal charges, the company said this morning.

Both Turkish nationals appealed separately against their arrests in May this year in relation to Sportingbet’s Turkish offering Superbahis, the operator said it was still seeking clarification as to what the formal charges were. A number of employees connected to Maslin Properties, Sportingbet’s former marketing partner in Turkey, were still in custody in connection with this matter. Sportingbet said its relationship with Maslin ended on 1 March 2007.

Turkey introduced regulation in February 2007 that makes it illegal for “unauthorised” operators to offer bets to Turkish citizens. Sportingbet has said it is unclear whether the law applies to itself because its servers are located outside the country. The group continues to take bets from the Turkish market.

Sportingbet’s share of revenues from Turkey has dropped over recent months. For the third quarter ended 30 April 2008, net gaming revenue (NGR) from Turkey was approximately 14% of group NGR, compared to approximately 26% on the previous quarter and since March 2008, NGR from Turkey was down to around 9% of group NGR.

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