Eye on Europe - July 25, 2006

25 July 2006

State Protection -- The 5th Chamber of the Administrative Court of the City Bremen, Germany, has decided that football club Werder Bremen may advertise bwin (formerly Betandwin) as its main sponsor, shirt sponsor and board advertising sponsor. The judge ruled that bwin's betting license, granted in former East Germany in 1990, is valid in Bremen. The city has two weeks to lodge a complaint at higher administrative court. The chamber did not, however, rule on whether the GDR license can be used in the whole federal German territory. The judge only decided on the matter of whether the advertisement for an organizer, who (at least in one German land of the Federal Republic) could become legally active. The judge criticized state operators and politicians who are protecting the monopolies. "The state Lotto and Toto companies who are offering sports betting--especially Oddset--have in the past years substantially recruited new players," he said, "and that is against the public interests, which they now want to protect."

'.eu' Popular -- Two million ".eu" Web addresses have been sold within the domain's first three months of existence. Additionally, EURid, the non-profit European Internet domain name authority, has suspended 74,000 ".eu" domain names and taken legal action against another 400 registrars for abusing the service. The legal action came after a syndicate of registrars systematically acquired domain names with the intent of reselling them at a higher price--an act called "warehousing." It followed a review of the system for ".eu" domains, which revealed that a small number of companies had registered several hundred phantom companies to manipulate the system and give them additional opportunities to grab names.

Playing Cards -- Turkish customers made more than 50 billion credit card purchases during the first half of 2006, according to the System of Payment with Cards Results of Inter Bank Card Center. There was a 122 percent increase in the number of registered business authorized to make e-trades, compared to the first six months of 2005. The number of registered businesses making sales through the Internet, which was 4,669 in the first six months of 2005, had increased to 10,370 by June 30, 2006. This is for interested parties who still think that the Turkish National Lottery, Milli Piyango, will be privatized in the near future.

German Market -- The German gambling market totaled 30.5 billion euro in 2005, according to Financial Times Deutschland. The casino market was the largest segment, accounting for 31 percent of total revenues. Lotto/Toto was ranked No. 2 at 27 percent. Third place was taken by the category "player-activated machines,"* with 18 percent of the market. Sports betting was 10 percent, online casinos were 6 percent, the German Class Lottery was 5 percent, TV lotteries were 2 percent and horse betting was 1 percent.

*In the new book "Dissected and Re-Assembled," written by gambling gurus Jean-Marc Lafille and Guy Simonis, player-activated machines are self-service gaming terminals, including slot machines, video lottery terminals and electronic lottery terminals.

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.