Bwin puts temporary halt on Turkey gambling offers

Bwin puts temporary halt on Turkey gambling offers - 2nd March 2007
(Credit: Reuters)

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian internet bookmaker said on Friday it would temporarily withdraw its online gaming offers from Turkey after a new law was passed on Feb 28.

"Although on one hand, the new law prohibits online games of chance, on the other it also provides for the possibility of acquiring a license at a later date," bwin said in a statement.

Bwin generates about six percent of its gross gaming revenues in the country, which meant the halt on its Turkey business could slash gross gaming revenues by 15-20 million euros ($26.3 million) per year, according to a spokesman.

Bwin said it would aim to acquire a license if Turkish authorities chose to issue any, adding it was unclear when this could be the case.

"We don't really have much information on this," spokeswoman Karin Klein said. "Our lawyers are investigating this."

Online gambling companies are facing increasingly stringent regulation in the United States and Europe, with governments curbing Internet gambling to protect customers and state-run lotteries.

Last year, bwin wrote off most of the value of its U.S. poker website, which it acquired for more than 500 million euros earlier in 2006, after the United States effectively outlawed Internet gambling.

By 1550 GMT, bwin shares traded down 3.0 percent at 24.00 euros, making it the top percentage loser in Austria's blue-chip index ATX which was up 0.75 percent.





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