Bwin takes initiative in Austrian law drafting

Legislation drafted by the Austrian government's Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer is so skewed to favour state monopolies like Casinos Austria - and against European Union law - that the Vienna-listed online gambling group Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG has commissioned its legal team to draw up alternatives for the politicians to consider.

The proposed Gambling Act has been criticised widely since its release, and drafters stand accused of overtly favouring state monopolies, which could lead to conflict with European Union principles calling for the free movement of goods and services between member nations.

Bwin's Co-Chief Executive Officers, Norbert Teufelberger and Manfred Bodner were apparently not consulted in any way prior to the release of the proposals by the minister and have responded by labeling the proposals 'unconsitutional' and pointing to several court rulings in Austria alleged to back such an opinion.

Teufelberger told Austrian news portal that the firm currently employs 800 people around Vienna but would 'be unable to develop more technology' if the proposals were passed as they are now.

He said that the company's own legislative proposals could be ready to lay before the Finance Ministry by next week, and that Bwin would be 'perfectly willing' to pay tax on the revenues it earns in Austria should the legal situation improve through reforms.

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