Eye on Europe

20 June 2006

4tune -- Estonia-based Fortuuna.ee, an Internet gaming site offering fixed-odds sports betting and lottery games, launched a mobile betting service just before the start of the World Cup. The mobile delivery is enhanced with EGET's XTML-based mobile solution, which enables players to bet on exactly the same matches or events that are available online. Estonian sports enthusiasts can now easily place bets from their browser-supported handsets regardless of where they are. The license for sports betting games is held by Spordiennustus A/S, which is a joint venture between Pafer A/S and the Estonian Olympic Committee. Fortuuna.ee has been live since spring 2004 and is available in two languages--Estonian and Russian. Founded in 1971, AS Eesti Loto is the biggest gaming operator in Estonia. Its products include instants, lotto, keno, bingo and other lottery products. Eesti Loto (Estonia) is also member of the cross-border Viking Lottery, which is as well offered by Dansk Tipstjeneste AS (Denmark), Veikkaus Oy (Finland), Íslensk Getspá (Iceland), Norsk Tipping AS (Norway) and AB Svenska Spel (Sweden), all European Lotteries members, of course.

No Privy -- Last week the Romanian Deputies rejected a law approving privatization of the Compania Nationala " Loteria Romana" S.A. (the Romanian national lottery), with 188 votes opposed, 70 in favor and 13 abstentions. In 2005, the lottery had total sales of 194.5 million euro, an improvement from 190.2 million euro in 2004. Romania's population is 22.3 million.

Lotto Hamburg -- The German state lottery company, Lotto Hamburg, will be the first German lottery company to commission Greece-based lottery technology supplier Intralot to handle its central system. The contract for developing a German version of Intralot's central system, Lotos, has been signed. Lotto Hamburg acted in response to the Greek proposal of adjusting this standard software, which is used worldwide, to German requirements within a limited time frame in a pilot project at no cost for Lotto Hamburg. This was preceded by a thorough examination of the relevant facts and legal circumstances, in particular of the legal principles governing public contract awards. Intralot, a member of European Lotteries Suppliers, is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. The company generated turnover of 523 million euro in 2005.

Foreign Ads Illegal -- Sweden's Gaming board, Lotteriinspektionen, has reported the editors of four Swedish newspapers and magazines to the police for publishing adverts from foreign gambling companies. Gaming Board spokeswoman My Hamrén expects more to follow, as many publications have recently accepted similar ads. A number of district court rulings have confirmed that it is illegal to publish adverts from gaming companies other than state monopoly Svenska Spel. The World Cup has led to an unprecedented number of gambling adverts in Swedish media in recent weeks. Editors have justified taking the adverts by saying that the Swedish law is inconsistent with EU law. The ads bring in big money for the media companies. The Gaming Board estimated that foreign gambling adverts bring in over 4 million euro per year for the Swedish media.

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.