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German state monopoly could be in hot water

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, Feb 27, 2007.

    Feb 27, 2007
  1. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service

    German monopolistic hypocrisy at its worst

    One of the fiercest and most litigious state lottery operators in Germany, the Westdeutsche Lotterie (WestLotto) in North-Rhine Westphalia has had to face an embarrassing Court finding against it this week - it has reportedly been offering fixed-odds sports betting without being properly licensed to do so!

    Private bookmakers have been continually harrassed in Germany by state bodies apparently anxious to protect revenue generating state gambling monopolies, leading to legal conflicts that have attracted the attention of the European Commission regarding free market conditions.

    In recent years private betting shops have been forced to close following injunctions by state lottery companies in Germanys sixteen states, with WestLotto one of the most aggressive persecutors in taking court action against private bookies.

    The association of private bookmakers in Germany, the Verband Europischer Wettunternehmer (VEWU) was quick to spread the news, issuing a press release that revealed that a private bookmaker had filed suit against WestLotto in the city of Cologne.

    The plaintiff claimed that despite WestLotto operating sports betting in North-Rhine Westphalia, the licence-holder in the region was in fact Nordwest Lotto. WestLotto defended itself by claiming that, although the licence had been officially granted to Nordwest, WestLotto had been authorised by Nordwest to manage sports betting in the region.

    The decision of the court went against WestLotto, finding that it was effectively the operator of sports betting and was unlicensed to do so under the terms of its arrangement with Nordwest Lotto. According to VEWU, WestLotto have been forced to issue a humiliating statement renouncing any claims to be the licence-holder for sports betting in the state North-Rhine Westphalia.

    Adding salt to the wound, the court further commented that it has serious reservations regarding the integrity of the case WestLotto had mounted.

    One leading German gaming lawyer, Martin Arendts of the firm Arendts Anwalte, opined it is possible that WestLotto could even face criminal charges relating to its fraudulent behaviour in falsely maintaining in its defence case that it was licensed to operate sports betting. The legal expert suggested that WestLotto may now be more circumspect about pursuing bookies in the courts as a result of the Cologne findings.

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