Gambling company takes on Norway

Ladbrokes, the world’s largest betting company, has received the backing of the European Free Trade Association court (EFTA court) which deems that Norway could be breaking European Union market laws by blocking the entry of the bookmaker to the Scandinavian country.

Ladbrokes had attempted to break into the country’s betting market but was blocked by the Norwegian government. That action, as far as Ladbrokes were concerned, was in breach of European Union laws that encourage the growth of competition.

The decision has now been referred to an Oslo court, which will use the EFTA court ruling to decide whether the betting monopoly enjoyed by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto in Norway is justified in terms of preventing corruption and gambling addiction.

"A system based on an exclusive right... completely denies private operators access to the respective market and thus encroaches upon the freedom to provide services and the right of establishment," the EFTA court said in its ruling.

Norway is by no means the only country in Europe that is trying to keep their gambling markets protected. The recent Placanica ruling in Italy will provide Ladbrokes with some hope, as will the European’s Commission stance on Denmark, Finland and Hungary.

Editor, - 2007-05-31 11:58:50

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