De Lotto's Veenstra Takes on Brussels, Ladbrokes

24 August 2007

Disagreement between Ladbrokes and De Lotto came to a very public head this week, after correspondence between the European Commission and the Dutch government leaked last Tuesday. De Lotto director Tjeerd Veenstra and Ladbrokes PR director Ciaran O'Brien traded shots in separate, candid interviews with IGN.

Veenstra called the commission's letter "outrageous," alleging that its author, Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, copied statements given by the legal teams of, among others, Ladbrokes to build his case. Veenstra quipped derogatorily that the commission had failed to "execute its own homework" and currently "functions as a mouthpiece of the bookmakers."

(Click here to view Veenstra's reaction in full.)

In response to Veenstra, O'Brien called the commission's reference to the evidence compiled by Ladbrokes' legal team "completely appropriate," adding that both the commission and Ladbrokes believe that "Dutch gaming law and the justification for their current monopoly is found wanting."

(Click here to view O'Brien's reaction in full.)

The Netherlands has remained under scrutiny from Brussels since April 2006, when it received a formal request for information regarding its sports-betting legislation.

In October 2006, Ladbrokes lost its appeal case in the Netherlands, and was thereafter prevented from accepting bets from Dutch residents.

Shortly after the verdict was handed down, Veenstra remarked: "I really wonder if Ladbrokes and their lawyers know what they are talking about."

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.