12/14/2012 : BWIN IN BELGIAN PARTNERSHIP ON INTERNET GAMBLING
 
Alliance with Groupe Partouche defuses disputes with regulator
 
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment's on-going dispute with the Belgian Gaming Commission, which has recently seen its CEO questioned and the company's websites blacklisted for allegedly illegal online gambling operations, appears to be over following the announcement of a partnership deal with Groupe Partouche.
 
On Friday Bwin revealed that it has signed an agreement with Belcasinos SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Groupe Partouche SA, the largest owner of land-based casinos in Belgium.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, bwin.party intends to collaborate with Belcasinos to offer online sports betting, poker and casino games using bwin.party’s leading brands to attract consumers in Belgium.
 
Belcasinos is one of only four land-based casino operators that are eligible to apply for the requisite licence to operate online poker and casino in Belgium, the company statement noted.
 
Partouche already operates its own online casino in Belgium using one of four licences that it may apply for, and expects to be successful in obtaining one of the licences required to also operate online sports betting.
 
While the commercial terms are not being disclosed, Bwin says these are consistent with similar agreements that the group has secured in other territories.
 
The partnership has already been approved by the Belgian Gaming Commission, which has begun the process of removing the Bwin websites from its blacklist.
 
Bwin and the Commission have also agreed to drop all pending legal disputes and the group has begun to adapt its systems in order to comply fully with the prevailing licensing regime in Belgium.
 
Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEOs of bwin.party, said:
 
“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.
 
“Together with our new partner we are now in the process of securing the necessary approvals to meet the requirements set by the BGC and do not expect any interruption to our service for customers in Belgium.”
 
Jacques Frojman, CEO of Belcasinos and Partouche Belgium, said:
 
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 Reuters news agency reports that three Bwin websites were blocked by the Belgians, costing the company Euros 700,000 ($916,000) a month in revenue.