€540 Million Loss for Online Casino
By Miriam H
The Introduction of the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in late 2006, which makes it illegal for banking facilities to accept money transfers to and from online gambling sites, has caused profits for Vienna-based online betting firm to take a dramatic fall, the company confirmed yesterday.

For 2006, bwin reported losses after tax and minority interests of €539.6 million, largely due to the loss of business from the US market. In stark contrast, bwin reported profits of €6.4 million in 2005.

Commenting on the end of business functions in the US the company stated that: “bwin took an impairment charge of €515.1 million due to the non-cash depreciation of the customer base and goodwill as a result of the bwin Games acquisition.”

In addition to the damage to trading caused by the UIGEA the company argued that it was met with ‘increased resistance’ by gambling monopolies in several EU countries, and will now focus on strengthening and expanding its main business areas, sportsbetting and poker, in countries where they have already established a market presence.

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