Austria’s bwin banned from bookmaking in Germany

Dresden, Germany – The German state of Saxony said on Thursday it was revoking its betting licence for Austrian online bookmaker Interactive Entertainment’s German affiliate with immediate effect.

„As a result of this, Betandwin will be banned from operating and arranging sports bets and advertising,“ Saxony’s interior ministry said in a statement.

The ban applied to the whole of Germany, Saxony state secretary Juergen Staupe told a news conference.

Bwin shares fell 9.1 percent to 20.90 euros on the news, extending a 31 percent drop on Wednesday after a German newspaper reported Saxony would withdraw the licence.

In the past three months the company has lost as much as 89 percent of its market capitalisation.

Although sports gambling in Germany is controlled by a state monopoly, some operators such as bwin have gained access to the market via licences issued by the former East German government.

The withdrawal of the licence is the latest in a series of government moves from the United States to Germany to clamp down on online betting and gambling.

Bwin operates in Germany thanks to a betting licence its affiliate bwin e.K. — in which bwin owns 50 percent — gained 16 years ago when the former communist East Germany loosened gambling rules in its dying days before German reunification.

Bwin had said on Wednesday it was ready to sue Saxony for as much as 500 million euros in damages if it withdrew the licence.

No one was immediately available to comment at the company.