French Open Closed to Unibet, Expekt

2 June 2008

Two online gambling operators have been shut out of the French Open, currently underway in Paris, and must pay a total of $1.24 million to the French Tennis Federation.

A Paris court on Friday ruled that Unibet and Expekt, companies licensed in Malta, violated the tennis tournament operator's monopoly over wagering on the event.

Unibet was ordered to pay 500,000 euros, or $777,000, while Expekt must pay 300,000 euros, or $466,000, to the federation.

The operators were sued in February by the federation over using the tournament trademark, Roland Garros, in connection with offering bets on the event.

The federation also filed a similar suit against three other operators -- Betfair, Bwin and Ladbrokes -- in a Belgian court in February.

The suit was dismissed April 29, and the three companies continue to take bets on the event from Belgian residents.

French bettors, however, cannot place bets with foreign operators.

Expekt plans to appeal the decision, Gregoire Triet, counsel for Expekt, told Interactive Gaming News.

Inga Lundberg, a spokesperson for Unibet, declined comment on the decision.

"I'm not a legal expert, so I am not the one who should comment," she said.

Attorneys for the federation could not be reached for comment.

Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.