Bwin: FTP and PokerStars Will Not Be Granted US Licences

When it finally comes to HR 2267 being signed into law, leading online rooms Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars will not be granted licences in the regulated US market, says Bwin co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger. If they are, then it was Bwin’s greatest mistake ever to withdraw after the UIGEA in 2006, he admits.

Bwin coCeo Teufelberger
Bwin co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger

Since the two companies continued to provide services for US citizens after 2006, many consider them to be currently operating illegally and thus they will be “frozen out, should the market regulate.” Teufelberger shares this view and also states that they are the only ones stronger than Bwin, due to the “hundreds of millions of dollars” they have from their illegal operations.

Considering one of the amendments to the bill enables the refusal of licensing rooms that are known to have violated US law beforehand, he might well be right. About the possible outcomes, he is uncertain, though: “I cannot imagine that a company which in the view of the Department of Justice and several state licensing authorities in the US, that acts illegally, will be able or qualify to get a licence. In my view this will be absolutely impossible. What does that mean in the end? I don’t know. They may be prosecuted, they may not be prosecuted.”

It is certainly in the interest of Bwin that the two be disqualified, even though they state they didn’t violate any state or federal laws, of course. With FTP and PS gone, Bwin and its merger partner company PartyGaming would definitely be the biggest online poker provider in the US. Although PG has admittedly acted against “certain US laws,” they settled a deal with the US government back in 2009, and the companies thus have every chance to be licensed as soon as the regulation is born.

An issue of both money and ethics, I’m curious how Bwin’s righteousness will fare against the lobby of FTP and PokerStars.