Tuesday August 21,2012 : BWIN.PARTY LOSES ARGENTINA COURT ACTION ON INTERNET GAMBLING (Update)
Punters don't "travel" on the internet to gamble says Federal Court
A legal dispute that started four years ago was finally decided in an Argentinian federal court this week when judges upheld the constitutionality of federal regulations that have created a gambling monopoly in the South American nation.
That monopoly resides with the local group Loteria Nacional, making it the country's sole legal operator and administrator for sports betting on all available delivery channels…and that includes the Internet.
Argentina's provinces have in the past been permitted to issue intra-province gambling licenses, and the major European betting group Bwin.Party digital entertainment secured one of these licenses in the Misiones province back in 2007, setting up an online business.
That business included advertising widely throughout Argentina in order to attract punters via the internet to the Misiones-based website, and that attracted the opposition and consequent litigation from the national monopoly in 2008.
Right from the start, Bwin was on a losing streak, with a court in Buenos Aires backing Loteria Nacional and ordering the foreign company to block local residents.
Bwin.Party appealed the ruling whilst other foreign companies headed for the exit, arguing that its advertising invited punters to travel via the internet to its website to gamble in a legal jurisdiction, and that curtailing this activity amounted to a restriction on the constitutional right to freedom of speech.
In the meantime, Bwin.Party continued to defy court orders and operated pending the court's decision.
This week Yogonet.com reported on the outcome of that appeal to the Federal Court of Argentina, noting that the court had not accepted the Bwin arguments, and that the company had no right or authority to offer its betting services outside the province of Misiones.
Bwin.Party and the Misiones licensing authority will also have to pay the substantial legal costs involved.