PokerStars and Full Tilt are operating “illegally” in the US, declared the Bwin CEO’s, Norbert Teufelberger and Manfred Bodner, in an interview for EGRMagazine.com.
Bwin holds the 3rd position worldwide as a poker provider after PokerStars and Full Tilt and the CEO’s believe that their site would have been the first if they hadn’t withdrawn from the US market in 2006.
Teufelberger thinks that these two websites are ranked the first two in the world solely due to their monopoly over the American market:
“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.”
Teufelberger puts forth the hypothesis that once the US online gambling market will be deregulated, PokerStars and Full Tilt will not be offered a license to continue to operate. He wonders if they will be prosecuted, let alone having withdrawn their licenses.
“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”.
The Bwin CEOs are aware that PokerStars and Full Tilt could nonetheless be granted a license in the newly deregulated US market. Should this happen, then pulling out of the US market in 2006 will have been their “biggest mistake”.