Win some, lose some in Germany

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RIP Brian
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Feb 22, 2001
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GERMAN COURT SETBACK FOR BWIN

Online gaming group loses interim ruling in German ban case

The Vienna listed online gambling giant Bwin appears to have lost the first round in its challenge against German Internet gambling bans, failing in its bid to have Germany's Federal Court of Justice overturn a ruling barring it from offering sport bets and casino games in the country. Shares in the company fell by nearly eight percent on receipt of the news this week.

In September 2004, Westdeutsche Lotterie GmbH & Co sought a judgement against Bwin International Ltd. to prevent the company from organizing, brokering or advertising sports betting, casino and lottery games in Germany.

In February 2006 the Regional Court of Cologne ruled in favour of Westlotto at the first instance.

In September 2007, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne confirmed the judgement of the court of first instance, declaring it to be enforceable. Bwin lodged an appeal with the Federal Court of Justice against the judgement by the Higher Regional Court of Cologne.

Although the Federal Court of Justice is not expected to pass a final ruling on the merits for the next 12 to 18 months, Westlotto instituted enforcement proceedings against Bwin in November 2007.

Bwin filed a motion to the Federal Court of Justice requesting the court to suspend enforcement proceedings until the court has passed a final ruling on the merits.

However, in the latest decision served on 14 March 2008, the Federal Court of Justice rejected Bwin's motion on procedural grounds. Until a final ruling by the Federal Court of Justice on the merits, Westlotto may now apply for further enforcement orders.

If Bwin eventually fails to win the appeal proceedings before the Federal Court of Justice, or if a political solution is not found in the interim, any penalties that may be imposed as a result of enforcement orders could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results and financial position, it disclosed this week.

On the other hand, should the Federal Court of Justice decide in favour of Bwin, the company says it reserves the right to claim for damages.

In view of the latest legal developments, Bwin and its legal advisors say they are confident that they will win the case against Westlotto.

The European Commission is also of the opinion that the current legal situation in Germany is incompatible with primary EU legislation, and has therefore instituted further infringement proceedings against Germany. And there are several preliminary rulings originating from German courts still pending judgement by the European Court of Justice.
Bwin e.K., which offers Bwin products on Bwin.de under a licence issued by the former German Democratic Republic, is not a party to these proceedings before the Federal Court of Justice.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
BWIN CHALLENGE TO GERMAN BAN HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF SUCCESS

Schleswig-Holstein law adviser says German bans won't stand the test of ECJ

Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, probably Europe's biggest private online sports-gambling company, may win a legal fight that threatens Euro 118 million in annual revenues, or a third of its take, reports the Bloombergs business news service this week.

The service quotes Johannes Caspar, a law professor at Hamburg University and legal adviser to the Schleswig-Holstein state legislature, who says that Vienna-based Bwin may succeed with lawsuits challenging the January 2008 ban in Germany on Internet sports wagering.

Bwin argues the prohibition, approved in all 16 German states, violates European Union law.

"It won't stand the test at the European Court of Justice," Caspar said.

The EU's executive arm the European Commission started "infringement proceedings" against Germany on January 31 this year over the state laws, a process that may lead to an appearance before the European Court of Justice on claims that the ban flies in the face of EU requirements for the free movement of goods and services between EU member states.

The professor's views come on the heels of the decision earlier this week by Spielbanken Niedersachsen GmbH (SNG) the exclusive Lower Saxony state licensed and regulated casino operator, to enter online gambling using a Chartwell Technology technology package (see previous InfoPowa report)
 
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