Players left wondering over the weekend

The Russia-facing arm of online gambling site bwin shut down over the weekend, a status which appears to be permanent. When trying to login, customers of bwin.ru saw the message, “Due to system maintenance work our websites are unfortunately unavailable at present. We thank you for your understanding.”

But really, that looks like it was just a boilerplate message. There was no system maintenance of the sort that would take the site down. Nobody from the company answered questions as to what was going on over the weekend.

On Monday, however, bwin.ru did finally confirm that it was done, citing “rapidly changing realities and new legislative initiatives.”

Welcome to Parimatch

Customer accounts will be transferred to Parimatch.ru, so funds should be safe. One never knows with this sort of thing, but considering that a) bwin already nailed down a deal with Parimatch to transfer the accounts and b) bwin itself is legitimate and owned by Entain, one of the giants of the online gambling world, things are probably fine.

Former bwin customers won’t necessarily have the chance to get back in the game right away. Parimatch is targeting the end of the month for all account moves to be completed. Of course, things could happen sooner. Customers who do decide to stick with Parimatch will be treated to a “unique bonus offer.”

Parimatch Russia CEO Ruslan Medved seemed to empathize with bwin.ru’s plight (I think – I hope my interpretation is correct), saying, “not all companies are now able to compete with the mastodons and, no less important, with the market itself and its realities.”

He promised to make the transition “as painless as possible” for new customers.

Partnership gone bad

Bwin.ru launched in November 2017, a joint venture between bwin’s parent company Entain (then GVC Holdings) and Russia-based Digital Betting LLC. Less than two years later, in May 2019, Dmitry Sergeyev left his post as CEO of bwin.ru to work for Parimatch’s Russian business unit. Then, in February of last year, bwin.ru was sold to Nirevia Holdings Ltd, an outfit out of Cyprus.

In their deal to launch bwin.ru, GVC was supposed to handle the technology end, while Digital Betting was in charge of marketing and licensing. Sergeyev disclosed that one of bwin’s big problems in Russia was that Digital Betting, didn’t live up to its end of the agreement, not supplying the monetary resources needed to properly market the site, thus hurting its ability to develop a player base.

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