An online casino operator has suffered a new blow after a court in Germany ruled it cannot operate there.

Shares in bwin Interactive Entertainment fell by more than 7 per cent after the ruling coupled with an announcement by state lottery operators that they will now seek SIX-FIGURE FINES against bwin if it continues to operate “illegally”.

The company is already appealing against a previous ruling and had hoped to carry on operating in Germany until that action was resolved.

Profit Threat

But yesterday hopes of any suspension of action pending the appeal were dashed by the judge in Köln.

bwin expects to have to wait up to 18 months for Germany’s Federal Court of Justice to hear the appeal and says it will still operate legally in the federal republic under licenses granted in Gibraltar and the former East Germany.

But the financial markets were troubled by company bosses’ admission that penalty payments could seriously impact bwin’s profits.

Earlier this week it was revealed bwin had lost £1.8 MILLION on a failed bid to win a sports betting licence in Turkey.


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