Owners of Serbian betting portals arrested for affiliate marketing?

[Serbia] The owners of Serbian betting sites kladionicar.com and freebetting.net – Djordje Djokić and Dušan Jagličić – were arrested last week for “organizing illegal bookmaking and money laundering”. However, not all is what it seems.

Both sites are resources for sports fans who like to bet on various sporting events. They provide stats, news, tips and other information related to sports betting. But revenue is generated through banner ads with links to bookmakers outside of Serbia and via SMS services with related betting information not through actually taking bets.

In other words, the two sites only refer users to other betting sites and get paid for each referral. It therefore looks like Djokić and Jagličić have been arrested, perhaps mistakenly, for affiliate marketing.

The press release issued by the Serbian police also wrongly cites Moneybookers.com, which Djokić and Jagličić used to receive payments from their affiliates, as “one of the biggest online booking sites in the world”. Moneybookers is an international online payment system and electronic money issuer authorised under UK and EU law and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK.

Big “fail” for the Serbian police.

The inaccuracy of press releases like this one raised doubts within the Serbian online community as to whether the arrests were justified or not. In addition, the Serbian media gave big publicity to a case often with incomplete information pretty much cut and pasted from the police press release.

There is no indication that Djokić and Jagličić have been operating illegally with relation to bookmaking, except perhaps receiving money from offshore accounts of foreign companies through their Moneybookers account. After one week since the arrest there is no new information nor clarification of the case by the police, while both guys remain in the custody.