Betfair Takes on Dutch Government

29 October 2004

The Dutch Ministry of Justice has chosen to maintain a monopoly on gaming and betting by renewing the operating license of De Lotto (which is set to expire in mid December), and U.K.-based betting exchange operator Betfair will respond by filing a law suit within the next two weeks.

Betfair applied for a license of its own to operate wagering in the Netherlands over a year ago, but the application has been rejected. The company claims the Ministry never seriously considered the application and stalled for several months before rejecting it.

The Ministry inevitably ruled that an exclusive license will be given to De Lotto because the license has a permanent character. Betfair, on the other hand, argues that the Ministry has acted discriminatingly by not seriously considering the application of a reputable European operator.

Justin Hubble, Betfair's general counsel, told the Racing Post, "Simply renewing De Lotto’s exclusive license after over a year of delay tactics and without due consideration is not only improper legally but also of detriment to the Dutch public who are a captive market for a highly uncompetitive monopoly offering. Censorship of this nature designed to protect monopolists from competition should be challenged."

Still drafting its writ of summons, Betfair's legal team is reluctant to speak about the specifics of the case until after the papers are filed. One spokesperson in the Netherlands did mention, however, that Betfair would most likely "pull a few rabbits out of its hat."

Meanwhile, Betfair is entangled in another case in the Dutch Courts. That case, already well underway, pits the company against De Lotto, which is attempting to have access to the Betfair Web site blocked to Dutch citizens.

Bradley Vallerius

Articles by Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials. Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

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