Bwin loses Portuguese monopoly challenge

8 September 2009

LISBON, Portugal -- As reported by Bloomberg: "Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, an online bookmaker, lost a challenge to Portugal's sports- betting monopoly after a European Union court said gambling restrictions are legal as long as they target fraud and crime.

"Bwin had challenged Portugal's national gambling monopoly and its extension to online wagering. The ruling today by the European Court of Justice could affect other pending cases including a suit by Ladbrokes Plc against the Netherlands.

"The EU's highest court said restrictions such as in Portugal may be justified to meet certain policy goals, including the fight against crime, as long as they aren't discriminatory and don't go beyond what is necessary to achieve their aim.

"'The verdict is a major setback,' Alfred Reisenberger, an analyst at CA Cheuvreuxin Vienna, who rates Bwin at 'outperform,' said by telephone. 'Bwin has lost a battle, not the entire war. They will continue to fight and in the long term they will be successful...'"