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European Football Lawsuit vs. Sportsbooks
In an appeal action last week, a court in Liege, Belgium threw out a claim by football clubs Juventus, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto for fees from top European bookie companies Bwin, William Hill and Unibet, in a branding issue over the use of famous teams' names on bookie websites.
The Euro 2 million claim was in respect of the right to use the club names, trademarks and events on the sites for the purpose of taking sporting bets. The clubs also asked for a court order preventing the bookie companies from using their protected image rights under threat of a Euro 50 000 fine for any future infraction. This, too was rejected.
In rejecting the claim, the court ruled that gambling was a business activity completely seperate to the organisation of sporting events, and therefore organisers and clubs had no right to charge money for the use of team and club identifiers.
Paul van der Bulk, a lawyer representing the bookmaking companies, summed up the claim: “What they wanted was money for using the trademarks. But the court just said that the activities of a sports team is one activity and gambling is another activity. It’s part of the principle of freedom of commerce.”
The lawyer indicated that the legal precedent set in the case would be used in further cases where he would be defending gaming companies in France in a similar dispute brought by Roland Garros, the organisers of the French Open tennis tournament. Although the French court is under no obligation to follow Belgium’s ruling, it would certainly strengthen the defence case, he said.
The case has its genesis in a 2005 claim by the clubs, supported by key players such as David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane which was unsuccessful a year later and was subsequently taken on appeal. Club Real Madrid dropped its involvement following a sponsorship deal with Bwin in 2007.
Early reports indicate that the clubs may now appeal against the appeal, taking the case to the Belgian Supreme Court by alleging that the appeal court's reasoning was flawed and incorrect.
One contentious aspect of the case was the court's competence from a pan-European perspective. The purchase of Belgian company Mr. Bookmaker four years ago was motivated as the desirability of the court being involved. Previously the court had asked the European Court of Justice for guidance on the issue of competency.
Bwin issued a statement in the wake of the appeal finding, saying that it welcomed the court’s decision as reaffirming its belief that no trademarks had been infringed.
Konrad Sveceny, investor relations manager at Bwin, said: “We’re very happy that this is now off the table. There is an appeal but we don’t see any reason why this dispute should go any further. We see ourselves as a partner to sports organisations and a contributor to sports.”
Betradar Launches US Sports Betting Solutions -
With only a few weeks to go until the betting and gambling world descends on ICE in London, Betradar have today announced that they will be launching a comprehensive range of tools and services to any company that will be looking to provide sports betting in a post-PASPA United States.
Final 12 For MPNPT Morocco -
Sunday on the MPN Poker Tour Morocco will see several trophies awarded at the Mazagan Beach Resort, with the largest going to the Main Event champion along with a prize of MAD 400,000 (c.€35,400).
MPNPT Morocco Updates -
Leading the 104 combined survivors from both flights is still Said El-Yousfi with 272,000 chips; visit the MPN Poker Tour blog for an end-of-day recap and full chip counts.
MPN Poker Tour Morocco Day 1A -
The MPN Poker Tour has returned to Morocco this week (January 11-14), featuring the MAD 1.5 million guaranteed Main Event, accompanying side events, and the activities and parties for which this tour has now become known on two continents.
2018 MPN Poker Classic -
The MPN announces the return of The Classic tournament series this January. The series is back following its successful €350,000 guaranteed debut in 2017. This time €500,000 is guaranteed, along with a once in a lifetime trip to Monaco for the Classic Champion.
PDC and Sportradar Renew Deal -
Following this month’s hugely successful World Championship, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and long-standing partners Sportradar have renewed their multi-faceted cooperation that will see the leader in sports data and content continuing in their role as official data
Poker Yaar Joins MPN -
Available through download, instant play and mobile, Pokeryaar.com is live with Omaha, Hold’em and Five-Card poker variants, alongside MPN’s Fish Party, the industry’s only progressive jackpot SNGs.
New MPN Poker Rooms Tower Torneos -
Impressed with Microgaming, having already integrated with the Quickfire platform to gain access to some of the industry’s best gaming content, Tower Torneos has extended the relationship with poker.<
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