Study concludes that there is no legal basis nor rationale for an EU-wide right to consent to bets
In a statement Thursday the Remote Gaming Association welcomed the main findings of a European Commission funded study on sports organisers' rights in the European Union.
The study concluded that there is no legal basis nor rationale for an EU-wide right to consent to bets (i.e. "sports betting right"), and that the French sports betting right, whereby sports betting operators must obtain the consent of sports organisers to offer bets, is not an effective mechanism for financial distribution to sport or as an integrity instrument against match-fixing.
The study was designed to map out the rights of sports organisers, in particular in relation to sports betting operators and assess the merits of a betting right. In that respect, the study makes a number of significant conclusions:
* The "costs associated with the administering of the right to consent to bets will always be considerable" and "there is no evidence for a link between the financial return stemming from a right to consent to bets and the financing of grassroots sport."
* The adoption of integrity mechanisms is not a prerequisite of the French right and "there is no guarantee that the income is in fact allocated to fraud prevention and detection."
* The right to consent to bets "risks leaving less popular and less visible sports more exposed to integrity risks" as "for most sports organisers the financial return would be insufficient to cover their own integrity costs."
* "It is not evident that safeguarding the integrity of sports events constitutes the principal rationale of the French right to consent to bets."
* The conditions required to implement a right to consent to bets are capable of constituting an unjustified restriction on the free movement of services within the EU.
* The right establishes a monopoly for sports "leading to the creation of a dominant position within the meaning of Article 102 TFEU" and anti-competitive concerns.
* Highlights that "amending the [Database] Directive to meet the demands of the sports organisers would bear the risk of creating undesirable information monopolies."
The statements notes:
"Whilst sports bodies and the French authorities continue to promote a betting right, the report rightly highlights that no other Member State has properly implemented legislation similar to that existing in France and that most other jurisdictions have "instead opted for alternative mechanisms to collect and allocate revenue derived from gambling to sport."
"Moreover, the report shows that sports organisers already have sufficient legal protection and the creation, at EU level, of a French style sports betting right is not justified."
Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the RGA, said: "We welcome the publication of the Asser Study on sports organisers' rights, as we did the opportunity to participate in the consultation process.
"We hope that the European Commission will take note of its findings which echo our view that calls for a European-wide sports betting right, or indeed a sports betting right of any kind, are commercially driven and have little if anything to do with integrity."
The study was launched in January 2013 and carried out for the European Commission by a consortium composed of the Dutch Asser Institute and IVIR of the University of Amsterdam.
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