The office of Vienna's public prosecutor has stopped its investigation of Austria-based BetandWin concerning possible illegal levy on gambling tax.
The public prosecutor's office in Salzburg and the Treasury stated in April that Vereins Anonyme Spieler Salzburg (ASS), the association of anonymous players in Salzburg, lodged a complaint against BetandWin concerning illegal tax collection. BetandWin at the time dismissed the claims as baseless.
Ernst Kloiber, the spokesman of the prosecutor’s office, says there were no grounds for further investigations because BetandWin is not targeting only the Austrian market. Therefore, the prosecutor has no legal authority.
BetandWin, which has offered Internet sports betting since 2000 under an Austrian license, began operating casino and lottery games in December 2001 under a Gibraltar license.
Austria has a state gambling monopoly for casinos (Casinos Austria AG) and lotteries (Österreichischen Lotterien GmbH), and ASS President Gerald Granig maintains that BetandWin is breaking the monopoly by operating an Internet casino sites. He is also intent on continuing the battle.
"We will ask our lawyers what steps we are able to take," Granig said. "Above that, nothing has changed in the matter of illegal levy on gambling tax."
The Finance Ministry is not commenting on the latest developments.
BetandWin.com Interactive Entertainment AG has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange (ID-code "BWIN," Reuters ID-code “BWIN.VI”) since March 2000. Its online gambling products are available at www.betandwin.com, www.triple-a-casino.com, www.balls-of-fire.com, www.playit.com, www.beteurope.com, www.sanalcasino.com, www.casinoturk.com and www.bahsegir.com.
The www.betandwin.com domain offers sports betting, casino games and lottery-like, fixed-odds products in 10 languages. Its sports betting service includes single- and multi- (parley) bets as well as system bets and a unique in-game betting feature through which users can place bets on continuously updated odds in real time. It also offers betting via WAP and SMS platforms.
Shareholders of BetandWin.com Interactive Entertainment AG are composed of private investors, institutional investors and members of the management: Androsch Privatstiftung (10 percent), Gismo Privatstiftung (5 percent), HTA Beteiligungs-Invest AG (5 percent), Venture Group Beteiligungs-Invest MF-AG (5 percent), Erovest Company Ltd (Isle of Man) (3.7 percent), Spill Invest AS (Norway) (1.8 percent) and management (9.4 percent).
The company's shareholder structure was doubled on June 15, 2005 as a result of a capital adjustment (the transfer of reserves to share capital). The number of shares listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange increased from 12,293,326 to 24,586,652 (ordinary shares).