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Bwin to Propose Alternative Gaming Legislation

By: Joan Peppin, Thursday November 27th 2008
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The gambling legislation that was proposed earlier in November 2008 by the Austrian Finance Minister, Wilhelm Molterer has received widespread criticism. Bwin has reacted to the proposal by commissioning its own legal experts to draw up and present an alternative proposal for gaming legislation. It plans to submit this proposal to the Finance Ministry in the upcoming week.

The proposal by the Finance Minister indicates that private online gambling operators will continue to be banned from providing online gaming services in Austria. On the other hand, Casinos Austria and Win2Day, its online gaming site will be able to continue operating and thus will remain a monopoly. In addition, it will prohibit financial institutions from processing any payments to an unauthorized operator.

The current draft drawn up by Molterer has been criticized both nationally and internationally as favoring the Casinos Austria monopoly. This is in defiance of EC law and it seems to provide a gaming machine license that could only be won by Austria's Novomatic. It is claimed that the management at Bwin are further frustrated that they were not involved in the discussions that took place with regard to amending the Austrian gambling laws.

Bwin has reported that they "would be more than willing to pay taxes in Austria on income generated locally, should the legislation be amended for the purpose of opening the market" to other gaming operators. Mr. Teufelberger, one of the co-CEOs of Bwin stated that the proposal as its stands would be "a breach of constitutional and European law." He further stated that there have been many verdicts from Austrian courts that have supported the notion that the current ban on online gaming is in breach of EU legislation.

Mr Teufelberger went on to say that if the national Council went ahead and approved the Finance Minster's draft as it currently is then they would consider ceasing development of new technologies within Austria. This would be a drastic step that would put into question the future of Bwin's Austria based employees. Currently, Bwin employs several hundred IT developers and 800 employees who are based in Vienna.

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