Online gaming firm bwin.party digital entertainment has solved its Belgian woes by agreeing a deal with Belcasinos that will see the two collaborating to offer services in the country’s regulated gambling market. The land-based firm is a subsidiary of Groupe Partouche and it will give bwin.party the chance to offer online sports betting, poker and casino games using their brands in Belgium. (N.B. It wasn’t like they weren’t offering them before, they just realized after arrest-gate that Belgian meant business).
The deal has been rubber stamped by the Belgian Gambling Commission with the company’s sites “in the process” of being removed from the BGC’s blacklist. After the agreement Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, co-CEOs of bwin.party, added: “Following recent developments in Belgium and after further dialogue with the local regulator, we have put our differences of opinion behind us and are now focused on the immediate commercial opportunity.”
The “difference in opinion” relates to the fact that bwin.party continued to operate in the country unlicensed for some time and saw its sites put on the country’s blacklist of unlicensed sites. It culminated in the soon-to-be-lone CEO Teufelberger being detained for questioning by Belgian cops at the behest of BGC. Being detained in Belgian could have far reaching effects with some thinking the US regulators won’t look kindly upon it when they try to gain a licence in any state that decides to regulate.
Partouche now has a number of partnerships in the Belgian market with the bwin.party agreement added to another with WMS-owned Jackpot Party. These are in addition to the firm’s own partouche.be offering. Jacques Frojman, CEO of Belcasino and Partouche Belgium added: “bwin.party is a market leader in online gaming with strong brands in sports betting, poker and casino. We are thrilled to be working with such a quality partner in Belgium.”
The damage may already be done for bwin.party as the US regulatory system won’t look kindly upon the company CEO being harangued by various police forces over the past decade or so. This is before you take into account their selective compliance with regulatory regimes across their most important market – Europe. November and December has been an eventful couple of months for bwin.party and things aren’t about to slow down in 2013 in what will be a pivotal year for the company.