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Bwin Activities Declared Illegal by Portuguese Courts

Written By: PokerNet.com | January 11, 2012 | Posted In Poker News

Bwin.Party Digital’s activities have always been scrutinised due to the nature of its business, but now Portuguese courts have decided to take matters into their own hands and ordered that Bwin remove all of its advertisements and sponsorships from all sports competitions in the country.

The court battle relating to Bwin’s activities in the country began in 2005 when the Portuguese Casino Association teamed up with the National Lottery Operator Santa Casa to file a complaint against them.

This ruling came as a result of the courts defining Bwin’s activities in the country to be illegal, which specifically covered tax and regulatory issues. These tax and regulatory issues relate to Bwin’s business in the country, where it has been alleged that they have gained an unscrupulous advantage due to not paying tax and not subject to Portuguese gambling legislation.

The most affected group as a result of this ruling is one of the country’s big industries, the national football league in Portugal. In 2010, Bwin signed a three year deal valued at four million Euros to become the sponsor of the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP), having their logo displayed on the front of all jerseys playing within the Portuguese League Cup, which effectively ha helped Bwin to maintain a strong presence within the club stadiums.

“As of Monday, the Portuguese professional football league is obliged to remove all advertising that refers to Bwin,” the LPFP said in a statement. It stated that the ruling would have a significant negative impact on the game and that it would appeal the decision.

Whilst a preliminary hearing just last year had ruled that the activities undertaken by Bwin were illegal, they do not however recognise the online gambling companies and only paid particular attention to Bwin. In response, Bwin stated that the decision by the courts went completely against European law.

“The court failed to take into account EU law. One cannot aggressively advertise and expand games on the one hand and keep foreign competition out on the other hand,” stated a spokesperson for Bwin. Continued in a statement by Bwin, they also declared that they would be suspending all sponsorship and advertising, but however neglected to mention the length of time, indicating that an appeal is likely.

As most recently as last Monday, the ruling was imposed and saw the enforcement of the immediate removal of all Bwin advertising. ArturMateus, manager of the Portuguese Casino Association saw this ruling as a win.

“We are happy with this decision, it was a positive one. We pay for extremely expensive licences so we want the state to combat illegal operators who have unfair advantages,”stated Mateus.

Whilst Bwin has undertaken the requested action to remove its advertising, it will surely look to make an appeal against these decisions and return back to the sporting scene.

[Source: Eurosport]

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