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Betfair and Ladbrokes Stand to Lose Dutch Ban Appeals

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Despite the fact that the European Commission (EC) has been hard at work for
the past few years to align online gambling policies in European Union (EU)
member states, the task is proving to be difficult as some country refuse to
‘tow the line’, such as the Netherlands for instance.

Currently an issue has come to a head between leading land and online casino
betting and gambling operations, Ladbrokes Plc and leading online betting
exchange, Betfair Ltd, who have been fighting the Dutch government for
seven years to win the right to offer their services
to Dutch online gamblers.

But up until now they have had little luck. And in fact just this week an
advocate general at the European Court of Justice was quoted as saying (in a
non-binding opinion) that ‘The Netherlands does not have to recognize the
companies’ online sports betting licenses that were issued in other EU

What this means is that no matter how legitimate Ladbrokes and Betfair are
considered to be in other European countries (as they are both licensed and
therefore regulated), the Dutch government is under no obligation to accept
those credentials and allow them access to its lucrative online gambling

The bottom line is that the Dutch government is refusing to issue Ladbrokes and
Betfair with licenses to operate in the country. And it seems to be attributing
the reason for this as the ‘protection of its citizens against gambling
addiction.’ As such, the Netherlands has limited betting to a single operator.

However, this operator just happens to be Dutch national sports betting
operator, De Lotto. This policy smacks of an ‘online gambling monopoly’ which is
exactly what the EC has been trying to eradicate throughout the European Union.
In response to this, Ladbrokes issued a statement recently.

Said Ladbrokes managing director, John O’Reilly, in the statement, ‘There is no
logic in the fact that the Dutch monopoly [De Lotto] is allowed to freely
compete against us in the United Kingdom, but we in turn are prevented from
accepting bets from any Dutch resident who find us on the internet.’

Officials at the Dutch Ministry of Justice reportedly declined to respond.

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