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EFTA finding on Norwegian gambling monopolies

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, May 31, 2007.

    May 31, 2007
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service

    National monopolies only acceptable under certain circumstances

    The Vienna listed online gambling group Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG was quick to publish its corporate view on this week's European Fair Trade Association findings on the Ladbroke's dispute with Norway over lottery and sports betting monopolies (see previous InfoPowa report)

    In a press release issued hard on the heels of the EFTA finding, Bwin explained that the court was called upon to decide whether monopolies were admissible for horse betting, sports betting and lotteries.

    The European Free Trade Association court ruled that the action by Norway in refusing UK gambling group Ladbrokes access to its gambling market could represent a breach of European internal-market rules.

    "The reasoning behind the EFTA Court's judgement is entirely in line with the judgements by the European Court of Justice in the Gambelli and Placanica cases," the Bwin press release notes.

    "According to these judgements, a monopoly may be permissible if a country's entire gaming policy is consistently designed to reduce gaming opportunities. Besides, any measures introduced by a government must also be necessary, proportionate and coherent. In this context, the court also laid down detailed criteria, stating that the burden of proof lay with each member state.

    "The court also went on to emphasise that an international provider cannot be denied access to any market if that country's monopolistic system is neither appropriate, proportionate nor necessary.

    "The court's judgement confirms the criticism already expressed by the European Commission of the national restrictions that still exist in some cases," commented Norbert Teufelberger, bwin Co-CEO. "As long as national legislators are unable to agree on uniform pan-European regulations for the gaming market, national regulations will continue to be evaluated in the light of the freedoms of establishment and services anchored in the Treaty on European Community and the prohibition of discrimination."

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