Bwin CEO Blasts PokerStars, Full Tilt as Illegal Online Poker Rooms

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
While Norbert Teufelberger and his Bwin co-CEO Manfred Bodner insist that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be froze out of the U.S. market should online poker legislation pass in the coming months, he admits that his company pulling out of the U.S. market in 2006 will have been the “biggest mistake”. Since that time, PokerStars and Full Tilt have become the two largest online poker rooms in the world, respectively. “We pulled out, they didn’t. But we’ll see who was right in the end. We still believe we were correct and it’s pretty clear cut,” he tells eGaming Review. Bwin recently announced plans to merge with PartyGaming, which is home to the 4th biggest online poker room. Party itself once dominated the Internet poker landscape prior to passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. Bwin also managed to post a 19 percent rise in poker revenue during the second quarter of 2010 despite the tough economy. Teufelberger essentially blasted both PokerStars and Full Tilt: “There are only two companies in the world who are stronger in poker than us, and they are only stronger because they still operate in the US. It’s not because they have premier marketing skills or premier technology, what they have is hundreds of millions of dollars from what we see as an illegal market. “We would expect that once the US regulates these two companies will not have access to the market, and once that happens we’ll then see who the leader will be. They say they’re not operating illegally but I think they are. Let’s see who is right. “I used to be personally licensed and operated in the land-based environment in the US so I know how stringent the US authorities are in their licensing process and I cannot imagine that a company which in the view of the DoJ (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.” In his interview with eGaming Review, Teufelberger insists his company has zero interest in purchasing the databases of Full Tilt or PokerStars should the industry become regulated in the States. “When Party pulled out nobody bought its database but the customers were still available so I don’t see why anyone would pay anything for their database. Once they’re shut down players will flow to the sites that are licensed. There will be a natural migration we don’t need to pay for it.” -- Aaron Goldstein,

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