Eye on Europe - Sept. 7

7 September 2006

Cyprus: North & South -- In the last edition of Eye on Europe, I wrote about Vodafone becoming the new mobile operator in Turkish North Cyprus as well as in Greek South Cyprus. For many years direct phone links between the north and south have been blocked, and Vodafone could give positive impulse for the betting industry in Northern Cyprus if direct mobile communication between the two factions is established, but the Greece Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) doesn't welcome the idea. A new press release reads, "The Greece Cyprus Telecommunications Authority has said its agreement with Vodafone forbids the British telecommunications company to operate in the Turkish Northern part (of the island). Furthermore, it said that concerns expressed (regarding) the security issues of CYTA network do not stand to reason, as no third party, including Vodafone, has access to the network." Forget it: politics. No direct mobile contact with the other side.

Switch Again -- Turkish authorities of the National Lottery Administration (there is still no legal divide between the regulator and the national lottery operator, Milli Piyango) are getting tough on Internet gambling. Inspectors have detected 20 gambling Web sites, which will be barred by the special Internet attorney. In the meantime, just like when the casinos were banned in Turkey in 1998, the now illegal betting Web sites are switching to Turkish Northern Cyprus, where they are legal. The Sports and Youth Ministry there sells betting licenses for a bank guarantee of 400,000 euro and a yearly license fee of 180,000 euro.

Even More from Cyprus -- Northern Cyprus-based gaming operators The BetArena and Bashedeger have signed agreements with Boss Media to implement Boss's poker solution. They are a new professional breed, leading the gambling modernization in Turkish Cyprus. The BetArena (Arkin Investments ltd.) has a well organized Web site in Turkish and English. Bank transfers can be made via three Turkish top banks, with branches in Turkis Cyprus: Garanti Bank, Oyak Bank and Ziraat Bank. Accepted currencies are pounds, dollars, euros and Turkish liras; accepted payment methods are ECC (embedded credit card), Visa and MasterCard. Products on offer are live sports betting, casino games and Poker.

No News Is Bad News -- When there is good news for the member countries of the European Lotteries, they are frontrunners to come up with press bulletins. But when the news is not so positive, you hardly hear from them, and the German Cartel "case" is a prime example of this. Dutch De Lotto Director Tjeerd Veenstra, however, is willing to give his personal opinion. "I would say it is a very controversial judgment and absolutely in contradiction with the judgment of the Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe," Veenstra said. "This does not make any sense. Moreover, this judgment is completely ignoring the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice and the judgments in so many court cases in other EU member states, including those that have already led to very clear judgments of Supreme Courts all over Europe. I can hardly wait to hear from the German authorities how they clarify this complex legal situation."

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.