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bwin / Santa Casa: ECJ delivers judgment in the bwin/Portuguese football league versus Santa Casa case

Date

08 Sep 2009

Sections

Sports

Today, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rendered its judgment in a case involving bwin and the Portuguese football league versus the Portuguese monopolist Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (Santa Casa). Santa Casa claimed that bwin´s sponsorship agreement with the Portuguese professional football league and accompanying advertising activities were illegal because of Santa Casa’s monopoly in providing on and offline lottery and betting services in Portugal.

According to the ECJ, the Portuguese monopoly on the Internet may comply with Community law under certain conditions, but restrictions imposed by a Member State “must be suitable for achieving the objective or objectives invoked by the Member State concerned, and they must not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives. Lastly, in any event, those restrictions must be applied without discrimination.”

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA: “Given the stringent anti-fraud regulations applicable to EU licensed operators which ensure a high level of integrity, transparency and traceability over online gaming transactions, we do not believe those conditions are met. Several jurisdictions in the EU already prove that it is possible to guarantee a high level of consumer protection and have a well regulated and competitive online gaming market at the same time.”

Today’s judgment must also be seen in the context of the increasing number of Member States that are now in the process of rethinking and redrafting their gaming legislation. As has been obvious for all other consumer markets before, none of the Member States currently drafting legislation has chosen a monopoly model to regulate this modern Internet based market.

ENDS -

For further information or comment please contact:

Sigrid Ligné: +32 (0) 2 2567527
sigrid.ligne@egba.eu

About EGBA:

The EGBA is an association of the leading European online gaming and betting operators Bet-at-home.com, bwin, Digibet, Expekt, Interwetten, PartyGaming and Unibet. EGBA is a Brussels-based non-profit association. It promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in one Member State to a fair market access throughout the European Union. Online gaming and betting is a fast growing market, but will remain for the next decades a limited part of the overall European gaming market in which the traditional land based offer is expected to grow from € 78,5 Billion GGR in 2008 to € 82 Billion GGR in 2012, thus keeping the lion’s share with 88,1% of the market. Source: H2 Gambling Capital, January 2009.

www.egba.eu

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