|Aktiengesellschaft (WBAG: BWIN)|
|Successor||Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment|
|Manfred Bodner (co-CEO), Norbert Teufelberger (co-CEO), Hannes Androsch (Chairman of the supervisory board)|
|Products||Sports betting, online gambling|
|Revenue||€423.1 million (2009)|
|€48.9 million (2009)|
|Profit||€46.3 million (2009)|
Number of employees
Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG (WBAG: BWIN), formerly betandwin, was an Austrian-based online betting company. The group operated under international and regional licences in countries like Gibraltar, the Amerindian reserve of Kahnawake (Canada), and Belize; and Germany, Italy, Mexico, Croatia, Austria, France, and the United Kingdom in Europe. The Group offered sports betting, poker, casino games, soft and skill games with most revenue coming from poker and sports betting. Bwin had over 20 million registered customers in more than 25 core markets. Competence centres were located in Vienna, Stockholm, and Gibraltar.
The Company provided services for its subsidiaries such as marketing, finance and administration, corporate communications, controlling and IT services. All operational activities were managed by licensed subsidiaries. It was listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange from March 2000 until the company's merger with PartyGaming plc in March 2011, forming Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Bwin continues as a brand used by the group.
Bwin – known as betandwin from its founding until 2006 – began life with 12 employees in 1997. The company launched its first online gambling site just one year after the company was founded, focusing on the growing sports betting market. One of the most important developments in the history of the company was the launch of its live bet product, developed in house, allowing players to place bet on sporting events while the actual event is taking place. The firm's initial public offering at the Austrian Stock Exchange took place in March 2000. In June 2001, betandwin acquired Simon Bold (Gibraltar), which is now known as bwin International Ltd., essentially moving its operations to Gibraltar. The move was made to follow some of the company’s biggest rivals to the island. By December 2001, betandwin was ready to step into the online casinogaming market and did so by launching its first casino platform. Two years later, in July 2003, betandwin introduced and launched a soft games platform known as Balls of Fire. In November 2004, betandwin launched multiplayer poker. The group acquired betoto.com to expand its presence in the Greek market in June 2005, a company which offers a fixed-odds betting service to punters around the globe. December of the same year marked another major acquisition – Ongame e-Solutions AB was taken over. This acquisition was a move consistent with the group’s strategy to expand into the poker market, after the takeover Ongame e-Solutions changed its name to bwin Games. Still in 2005 betandwin acquired global media rights outside of Germany to the Germany Football League. In August 2006 betandwin launched the new bwin brand. This was done after it was found that the betandwin brand, which was described as “descriptive, high-grade and functional”, was not suited anymore for the wide assortment of entertainment offerings covered by the company, including sports betting, poker, soft games, and casino games. In 2007, bwin began to offer live streaming of major sports events.
On April 1, 2011, bwin and British gaming firm PartyGaming announced their merger. The new company became the world's largest publicly traded online gaming firm, 48.4% owned by existing PartyGaming shareholders and 51.6% by bwin shareholders. The merged company is listed on the London Stock Exchange, with joint CEO's Norbert Teufelberger and Jim Ryan.
The company's subsidiaries and affiliated companies offer sports betting, poker, casino games and soft games, as well as audio and video streams on sporting events, such as the German Bundesliga. These are all provided via the Internet, and many are also available via other digital distribution channels, such as mobile phone.
Sports bets are the core business at bwin. Today, the sports betting line-up includes more than 90 different sports; the core area of customer interest is soccer. Other sports include all popular ball-related sports, US sports as well as all major winter sports and motorsports ranging from Formula 1 to MotoGP. “Exotic” sports such as Roller Hockey, Futsal and Darts are also included in the daily line-up. Not only sports are on offer in the betting line-up. Customers will find odds on a range of events outside the area of sports. These include bets on politics and entertainment such as the Oscars, Talent Shows, the Eurovision Song Contest and "Miss” events.
The following types of games are offered at bwin Poker: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo and Five-card draw. In terms of stakes, users can choose between Fixed Limit, Pot Limit or No Limit tables. A “play money” version of the games is also available for users to try out for free. bwin offers poker tournaments, both, Sit & Go and scheduled, and cash games (ring games). Sit & Go tournaments begin as soon as the table is completely occupied. Scheduled tournaments begin at a specified time and allow for higher numbers of participants and the highest prize pools. In cash games the players can join and leave whenever they want. bwin Poker can be played using the Mac OS X Poker Client, the Windows Poker Client, the Java Poker Client or the Mobile Poker Client. The Mac and Windows version offers an extensive selection of features such as statistics and a mini-table function. The Java client is platform independent as it is a browser based solution. The mobile client allows customers to play cash games on their mobile phones.
Bwin offers its customers more than 80 games, ranging from classics such as roulette or blackjack to slot machines and casino tournaments. The casino has a longstanding tradition at bwin: In 2001, it was introduced as a second product, in addition to sports betting.
Bwin offers more than 60 games divided into the categories of Fortune Games, Skill Games, Mini Games and “ParaDice”, as well as Backgammon. This is the product group with the biggest potential for innovation and expansion on the market.
bwin Games AB
Bwin Games AB — founded in 1999 and formerly known as Ongame e-solutions AB — became part of the bwin Group following its acquisition, in March 2006, by bwin Interactive Entertainment AG.
Within the bwin Group, bwin Games AB acts as the competence centre for poker and casino games, developing products via digital distribution channels for bwin proprietarily owned brands, such as PokerRoom.com, HoldemPoker.com, eCardroom.com, PokerGaming.com, Europoker.com, and the Ongame Network partners.
PokerRoom.com was an online poker cardroom founded in 1999. Licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, PokerRoom offered both play and real money formats. Tournaments and ring games were available in both web-browser and download client platforms, with support for both Macintosh and Linux. PokerRoom was one of the first online poker sites to provide multi-language support, and catered to Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and Swedish speakers. These languages were accessed via "regional sites," many of them showing local sponsoring for the selected region.
PokerRoom has won industry awards such as Poker Site of the Year from the UK Gambling Awards in 2006 and Top Poker Software from the Online Gambling Magazine Awards in 2005.
After 10 years of operation, bwin announced the closure of PokerRoom.com on April 14, 2009. Players with money still left in their accounts were encouraged to transfer their balance and play at bwin.com. However, PokerRoom.com players with large "play money" accounts had to abandon those accounts when transferring to bwin.com.
The global legal framework for Internet gambling is a complicated mix of laws and regulations, bwin's situation varies therefore depending on the country concerned. For several years now, the United Kingdom and Italy have been examples of countries that have regulated their online gaming markets to the advantage of all stakeholders. Just recently, Italy extended its online licences to include poker tournaments, and countries like France, Spain and Denmark announced their intention of permitting private operators access to their markets under stringent conditions and controls. Other countries, on the other hand, are still pursuing a policy of maintaining a state monopoly of internet gaming, or even a complete ban.
On the 15 September 2006, Norbert Teufelberger and Manfred Bodner were arrested at a press conference in La Turbie, France, due to offenses against the French gambling laws. After an investigation the judge released them on the evening of September 18, 2006.
The EFTA Court held hearings in January 2007 to decide on the admissibility of a state monopoly for betting and gaming according to European Law. The decision of the EFTA Court will be made on 14 March 2007.
Among bwin's sponsoring activities, the group is a partner of leading European sports.
Bwin currently sponsor football giant Real Madrid and they are also a premium partner of FC Bayern Munich. In October 2010 bwin announced a sponsorship for the upcoming three football seasons in which they will be the title sponsor of the Portuguese League Cup - in future named "bwin Cup". Italy's second tier Serie B has already been re-branded "Serie bwin" after a two-year sponsorship deal was signed in July 2010. Besides, bwin cooperates with the International Basketball Association (FIBA) and has been sponsoring the European and World Basketball Championships since 2006. In the area of motorsport, the company is one of the main sponsors of the MotoGP series. In 2010, bwin is the title sponsor of the races in Jerez and Estoril and official partner of the GP in Brno, Misano, Mugello. In the past, many other top events in the international and local sports world were supported by the corporation. Bwin also lent its name to the Portuguese first football league (bwinLIGA), was sponsor of AC Milan and has been partner to famous clubs such as Juventus Turin and Werder Bremen.
In addition, bwin organizes numerous poker events both online and offline. One of the biggest regular online tournaments is the ChampionChip. Special poker tournaments like the Weekly Country Showdown or the bwin Dailies offer a huge range of tournaments adjust to country specifics and buy-in levels. Periodically there are launched new types and variations of Sit & Go’s. Via several online qualifiers the bwin user can qualify for offline events like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the Aussie Millions and events on the World Poker Tour. For “poker newbies” bwin offers a special route, the Rookie Challenge. There a new poker player has the chance to climb up several stages for free to earn real money tickets.
The company have faced some opposition in Europe over sponsorship of sports, especially football. In 2006 Bremen banned its top football team, Sportverein Werder Bremen, from carrying the bwin logo on its shirts. In November 2009, the city acted further by moving against sports stores which sold shirts from other teams (such as Milan and Real Madrid).
A dedicated Corporate Social Responsibility department of the company guarantees that products are designed in a way that offers maximum social responsibility. Protection of minors, protection against manipulation of bets as well as prevention of gaming addiction are key aspects of the bwin CSRphilosophy. Bwin supports research in this field in a joint project with Harvard Medical School. Bwin is co-founder of the EGBA (European Gaming and Betting Association), where it lobbies for fair competition within a regulated online gaming market. As founder and member of the ESSA (European Sports Security Association), bwin campaigns against manipulation and fraud in the fields of sports and betting.
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