Eye on Europe - Feb. 9, 2007

9 February 2007

Cross-Border Advertising -- Professional cycling for years has not been able to exist without sponsoring, and some of those sponsors were, and are, gambling organizations, such as La Fran├žaise des Jeux (France), ONCE (Spain), Lotto (Belgium), and Bankgiroloterij (The Netherlands)--all monopolists. And since 2006, the Unibet.com Cycling Team, a continuation of the MrBookmaker.com cycling team, has been sponsored by one of the largest online gambling operators in the European market (over 1.3 million customers worldwide). The team in 2007 joined the Union Cycliste Internationale, the "major league" in professional cycling, for a four year stint. The Tour de France is one of the leagues premier events, attracting the widest worldwide media coverage. Last week the cycling "coureurs" of the Unibet.com started the new season with the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise in France; however, the Unibet.com brand was nowhere to be found on the jerseys. In its place was a big question mark. Why? Because cross-border advertising for gambling is not allowed in France. Unibet Group plc is incorporated in Malta, certified with the Global Gaming Guidance Group and a member of the European Betting Association. Other gambling sponsors are members of the European Lotteries, so they are not "cross bordering."

Roll Me Over -- A new rule will be applied to all EuroMillions tickets purchased for the draw to be held today and for all subsequent draws. If the jackpot is not won for 11 successive draws, on that 11th draw, the total jackpot amount will be rolled down to the next highest prize category where there is at least one winner. Once a reallocation of the jackpot prize has taken place, the next draw will be the first in the next series of 11.

Read Heads -- Hotnews.ro continues to illustrate what is going wrong in new EU member Romania. The publication just reported that the National Lottery, Compania Nationala 'Loteria Romana' S.A., employs an army of counselors without any contest, and many people close to the PC-government party leadership obtained jobs under the wing of lottery head Liliana Ghervasuc, the GM of the National Lottery, and also a member of the PC.

The other Side of Cyprus -- In North Cyprus is a new initiative to start an association for betting companies. The Turkish Cyprus government will back the new project and will introduce a new Web site at which information on digital crime, statutes, technical specs, taxation, law enforcement and enforceability will be laid down in a manifest.

Turkish Law 424 -- The new Turkish gambling policy, draft 424, has been submitted as "law to the floor." If it is enacted, sports betting company Iddaa will have Internet exclusivity. Breaches will be seen as criminal acts and will be punishable by prison sentences.