03/09/2012 : Codere's spoiling tactics exclude foreign and unlicensed competition
Codere's spoiling strategy of initiating legal actions against unlicensed internet gambling competitors in Spain has paid off once again against Sportingbet. The latter's appeal to the Madrid-based Mercantile Court has been defeated, with the judge finding that its activities in Spain were illegal and therefore prohibited.
The Madrid court's finding is the latest development in Sportingbet's legal wrestling match with the Spanish gambling group, which has seen the UK company's Spanish websites miapuesta.com and miapuesta.es shut down. Sportingbet appealed against an earlier decision, depositing Euro 2 million in order to do so.
The latest ruling, which confirmed the shut downs, sets a precedent in the Spanish market with the judge's conclusion that “any offering of gaming or betting activity that has not been granted a prior administrative authorisation is, indisputably, illegal and prohibited."
That includes any offering and marketing of games of chance and betting carried out remotely before May 29, 2011, when the new Spanish online gambling regulations came into force. The legalization set up the General Directorate of Gaming Supervision as the licensing and regulatory body for all online gambling in Spain.
Codere has argued that foreign operators unlicensed in Spain create inequitable competitive conditions in that they operate from tax havens and do not pay Spanish taxes. It has also alleged that offshore sites do not generate employment, and in many cases lack acceptable levels of player protection.
Several of the companies that Codere has attacked have put forward the defence that delays in accepting applications and issuing licenses in Spain have created a legal vacuum, an argument that Pokerstars successfully deployed in a Barcelona court in a separate case