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Gambling: Forum Owners Beware
An Irish civil action for libel that has been running since 2004 is still some way from conclusion, but its central issue will be of interest to all owners of Internet message boards, and reinforces the need for discipline to avoid some posters going too far, and for the timeous removal of defamatory third party material.
The Post.ie reports that the case was heard in the Irish High Court last month after two Irish bookies, Seamus Mulvaney and Ellen Martin, launched libel proceedings against The Sporting Exchange Ltd, parent group of Betfair. The duo claimed that members on Betfair's forum published defamatory comments about them.
Betfair argued that the 2003 Irish regulations implementing the 2001 European E-Commerce Directive, a law designed primarily to shield Internet Service Providers from liability arising from 3rd party content, protected it from the consequences of its forum users posting defamatory comments on its forums.
The High Court supported Betfair's defence - and this is important - despite a clause in the directive that excluded gambling activities from protection. In noting that the message board was not part of the cpompanys core betting activities, the judge in the case, Mr Justice Frank Clarke said: "It follows that the gambling exclusion does not prevent Betfair from placing reliance on the E-Commerce Directive as a defence in these proceedings."
The judge also found that a chat room was an ‘‘information society service’’ for the purpose of the regulations, so Betfair qualified as a ‘‘relevant service provider’’. Betfair was therefore entitled to the protection of the regulations, provided it could establish that it was unaware of the alleged defamation and took prompt action once the matter was brought to its attention.
Feidhlimidh Wrafter, one of Betfair's legal team, said after the decision was handed down: “That’s really what the judgment’s saying, that gambling companies that operate a chatroom are now considered to be protected by the EU directive. It’s on appeal but it’s certainly a judgment that we’re very pleased with and we think it’s the right one.”
The High Court judge hearing the case found that Betfair was an intermediary service provider and therefore had limited liability because its chatroom was not core to the company’s main betting business. Betfair stored third party information on its servers and could therefore be defined as acting as a host in terms of the E-Commerce Directive, Mr Justice Frank Clarke ruled.
The plaintiffs are taking the case on appeal, and the ruling must therefore be regarded as a preliminary measure that simply confirms that the E-Commerce directive is an acceptable defence. Betfair will still have to show that it was unaware of the chatroom comments, and that it acted with reasonable alacrity in removing the defamatory material as soon as it became aware of its existence.
The case is likely to run on for over a year, given the full rolls in the Supreme Court where the appeal has been lodged
Danske Spil Bingo Moves to Microgaming -
The national lottery of Denmark, Danske Spil, is live on the Microgaming Bingo Network. Danske Spil, the Danish national lottery, is live on the Microgaming Bingo Network following a change to its licence conditions.
Quickfire live on Strendus -
Quickfire powered by Microgaming is extending its reach in the LatAm region with the signing of Strendus. Strendus is the online division of Logrand Entertainment Group. The group comprises several companies that operate gaming and entertainment establishments in Mexico, running 14 land-based casinos in total.
Quickfire content live on BetatHome -
Online gaming and sports betting company bet-at-home was founded in 1999. Today the company has 4.8 million registered customers around the world, offering sports betting, casino, live casino, Vegas games, poker and virtual sports.
Microgaming has donated £30,000 between four charities -
Gift of Giving provides Microgamingís customers the opportunity to vote for one of several charities in their region. In lieu of Christmas gifts, £30,000 is split equally between four global regions: Isle of Man, UK and Europe, Africa, and Rest of the World.
Entertainment Betting Odds: 90th Academy Awards -
The Shape of Water leads Sundayís 90th Academy Awards (8 PM ET, ABC) with 13 Oscar nominations, but when it comes to Best Picture, this highly-acclaimed film is a +140 second-favorite behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at Ė115.
Fair Play Bets and QuickFire in Deal -
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