6/4/10 – RIGHT2BET has condemned yesterday’s ECJ ruling in the Ladbrokes and Betfair cases against the Dutch Government and the country’s monopoly operator, De Lotto.
 
The Court ruled that a Member State is allowed to restrict access to a betting website if they do not have a Dutch licence, irrespective of the fact that the operator has a licence in another EU country.
 
The Court also maintained that Member States are allowed to restrict access to EU-licensed betting sites in order to prevent crime and addiction.  This aspect is nothing new, having merely repeated what has already been said in previous cases, but the claim that monopoly operators are better placed to fight crime and prevent addiction are completely unfounded.  The Court did not look at this matter in any depth and has made a decision devoid of any real and impartial facts.
 
Right2bet spokesman Ari Last said: “This ruling has again shown the ECJ to be completely out of touch with reality.  A consumer does not arrive at a betting website – or any other site for that matter – and make a distinction between a site that is run from the Netherlands or one that is run from elsewhere in the EU.
 
“What matters to the consumer is value, choice and protection, and whether or not the Dutch authorities block certain EU-regulated companies will not stem these consumer demands.  The real result of blocking the reputable operators such as Ladbrokes and Betfair is consumers being forced to look for these things from operators that do not adhere to Dutch law.  Thus, the black market is the real beneficiary from yesterday’s ruling.
 
“It is lamentable that the ECJ cannot see this.  As a result, the EU consumer is the real loser from yesterday’s decision.  It is now vital that the European Commission takes a lead on this issue and looks at the EU-wide landscape in order to protect the consumer whilst giving them the services they demand.  Betting is the only sector in which such arcane laws still exist, and that has got to change.”