Online poker giants PokerStars And Full Tilt are both “operating illegally” in the US, according to Bwin CEOs Norbert Teufelberger and Manfred Bodner, in an interview given by them to EGRMagazine.com.
Bwin has the world’s third strongest poker offering behind PokerStars And Full Tilt, and believe the only reason they are not in pole position themselves was their decision to pull out of the US market in 2006.
Teufelberger believes that the two sites haven’t any particular advantages over other poker sites, and that without their virtual monopoly on US players they would have no chance of maintaining their colossal statures in the industry. As Teufelberger explains to EGRMagazine:
“It’s not because they have premier marketing skills or premier technology, what they have is hundreds of millions of dollars from what we see as an illegal market. We would expect that once the US regulates, these two companies will not have access to the market, and once that happens we’ll then see who the leader will be. They say they’re not operating illegally but I think they are.”
Teufelberger seems to believe strongly that before long the US will deregulate online poker and that PokerStars And Full Tilt will be firmly left out of any future licence considerations in the new market. In fact, he seems to think that the only question remaining would be whether they find themselves prosecuted or not for their so-called illegal activities.
He further dismissed any possibility of PokerStars or Full Tilt being bought out by investors, as nobody bought PartyPoker’s customer database when they pulled out of the US gaming market.
However, in business as in poker, few things are certain and Teufelberger did strike a more cautious note when he mentioned that if PokerStars And Full Tilt were granted licences, then it would have been “the biggest mistake Manfred and I ever made”.