BY TOM SOMACH
According to media reports from Europe, Unibet (www.unibet.com) CEO Petter Nylander was released from a Dutch prison and extradited to France last week.
Nylander was arrested in Amsterdam last month on charges that Unibet violated French gambling laws that protect French gambling monopolies.
At the request of French authorities, Dutch authorites had arrested Nylander at the Amsterdam airport as he prepared to fly home to the U.K.
After the extradition, the reports said, Nylander went before a judge in Paris to formally hear the charges, and was then released on bail of 200,000 euros, about $290,000 U.S.
After posting bail, Nylander then flew home to London in the U.K., the reports said.
Nylander, through Unibet, then released a statement to the media, declaring: “Unibet, the company that I run, has always abided by the law. We are transparent and we promote the concept of responsible gaming. Our company is European, we are listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange, and audited on a regular basis.
“The fact that there are numerous legal proceedings ongoing against responsible operators such as Unibet doesn’t make sense at a time when the French government has publicly referred to the opening of its online gaming market. Such proceedings serve only one purpose–the commercial interests of France’s two state-owned monopolies. There is an urgent need for reform of this market where these monopoly operators’ actions are in complete disregard of European Union treaties and the interests of French players.
“It is Unibet’s strong belief that the French consumer should have a choice regarding online betting and gaming, with specific regulation. France has everything to gain from the controlled opening of its market, and La Francaise des Jeux, the PMU and French casino operators alike have an opportunity to be co-leaders together with private operators in the European online gaming market.”
Unibet is a British company that is licensed by the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Malta.
The company is listed on the Swedish Stock Exchange, and Nylander is Swedish.
Unibet takes bets from French customers, and offers on its website online poker, online casino games, online sports betting and online horse race betting.
(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])