Portugal Online Gambling Ban Legal

Published September 8, 2009 by OCR Editor

Portugal Online Gambling Ban Legal

A setback to Bwin and the online gambling industry.

The European Union Court of Justice decision changes the face of online gambling, and the prospects for a future of a free gambling market across the continent.

The EU Court ruled today on the case of Portugal, where online gambling company Bwin tried to enter the local market, controlled by Portuguese state betting monopoly, Santa Casa. Bwin has advertised on the Portuguese soccer league website, and upset the local monopoly.

The widespread opinion until today was that state run monopolies are against the free trade nature of the Union. Alas, there are exceptions, the Court said.

The ruling says prohibitions "may be regarded as justified by the objective of combating fraud and crime." The mere intention to stop crime and target fraud may justify such bans.

The ruling favors national lotteries, naturally. It is a setback for most other online casino companies. It also hurt Bwin's shares, which dropped nearly 8 percent.

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