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Unibet excluded from Tour de France

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, Jun 18, 2007.

    Jun 18, 2007
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service

    Ban imposed on sponsored cycling team condemned as scandalous

    Online gambling group Unibet is understandably outraged at a ban on its sponsored Green Cycle Team from next month's Tour de France - allegedly because of French laws that forbid online gambling advertising by foreign companies.

    The injustice is compounded because the main sponsor of the Tour, which begins in London, is France's horse betting monopoly Pari Mutuel Urbain, with French lottery operator La Francaise des Jeux the sponsor of a team, too.

    Swedish-owned Unibet has committed a considerable investment to the Green team, which qualified for a four year Pro Tour licence last year permitting entry to major cycling events.

    Tour de France race coordinator Christian Prudhomme has explained his decision as simply obeying French law, something to which European Union market commissioner Charlie McCreevey has objected.

    The Green team was allowed to compete in a race in Marseille earlier this year, but the gaming firm's logos had to be removed from all clothing, Unibet spokeswoman Inga Lundberg told the BBC. She said race organisers had now insisted that the nine man team would not be able to compete at all in the Tour de France even if it removed the logos and was not known as the Unibet team.

    "This whole situation is a scandal," Ms Lundberg said.

    Green team director Jacque Hanegraaf said that the decision would have an economic and personal impact on the team. "We have not given up yet and for the team, taking part in the event is the most important thing, even if it means the loss of our corporate identity, but we should not have to do that. By denying the riders the chance to compete in the highlight of the cycling calendar the organisers are damaging careers."

    He added that cycling had been singled out and as a comparison pointed out that it was inconceivable that French television would not show a crucial European football match because one of the teams had a gaming firm as a sponsor.

    Unibet is listed on the Stockholm exchange and provides some 1.7 million customers with sports betting, poker and casino games.

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