The European Gaming and Betting Association has welcomed a decision by a Belgian court in Liege against a French Tennis Association complaint which sought to prevent online gambling groups such as Bwin, Ladbrokes and Betfair from taking bets on the Roland Garros French Open and Paris Masters 2008.
In three rulings issued this week in cases brought forward by the French Tennis Federation (FFT) in Belgium against EU licensed operators, the Liège first instance court rejected all allegations of the complainant, confirming that the operators concerned do not violate the FFT’s rights as the event organisers of Roland Garros and Paris Masters. Belgian players will therefore continue to enjoy this popular entertainment in 2008.
EGBA reports that the judge, taking into consideration the corporate responsibility of the EU operators concerned and the procedures in place “preventing all anonymous bets, ensuring perfect traceability” concluded that the operators had behaved in a prudent and diligent manner.
Moreover, the judge took stock of “…the various measures, notably for the protection of minors” implemented by Bwin, as well as its membership of “ESSA (“European Sport Security Association”) which aims to guarantee the integrity of sports betting offers and to keep sports honest and free from fraud”.
The judge also considered that the “…simple mention of the name of a sports event is a necessary indication for the online betting activity” which therefore “…cannot be considered as an act of parasitism since its sole purpose is to let the player identify which sport event to place a bet on”.
The Belgian judge ordered the French Tennis Federation to pay Euro 5 000 per case for the recovery of legal costs.
Sigrid Ligné, EGBA Secretary General commented: “EU-licensed bookmakers are professionals that have a high level of expertise, know-how and risk management skills. This has been clearly recognised by the Belgian judge looking at the fact-based evidence to dismiss all the claims in this case.”
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