Eye on Europe - 27 July 2007

27 July 2007

BBC Phone-Ins On the Out -- U.K. public broadcaster The BBC has banned all types of phone-in games following a series of editorial errors.

According to British media reports, BBC director general Mark Thompson made the announcement after "serious editorial breaches" were uncovered during a recent audit of the company.

The audit revealed that several shows, including Comic Relief, Sport Relief and Children in Need, had announced fake winners in phone-in competitions.

" . . . a number of programs have failed to meet [our stringent editorial] standards," said Thompson. "This is totally unacceptable. It is right that we are open with the public when we have fallen short and that we demonstrate that we take this very seriously indeed. The behavior of a small number of production staff who has passed itself off as viewers and listeners must stop. We must now swiftly put our house in order."

A Little Extra Dough for the Tourney -- European neighbors Poland and the Ukraine will co-host the European soccer championships in 2012 (EURO 2012). In order to do so, however, both countries need to raise a little extra money.

To prepare for the event, Polish Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska has been tasked with organizing financial backing for the National Sports Center, as well as for modifications to existing stadiums.

Gilowska has said that between 2008 and 2012, 3 percent of the sales generated by Totalizator Sportowy will go toward the football event.

In 2006, Totalizator reported sales of $835 million.

The Finance Ministry is also planning to allow additional slot machines in locations throughout the country in an effort to raise funds for the Polish soccer federation--3 percent of which will go toward EURO 2012.

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.