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Betfair Takes Holland to Court over Blocked Access


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Leading UK-based online betting firm, Betfair, has surprised
many in the online gambling world by its recent decision to take the Dutch
Government to court, claiming that its is responsible for unfairly trying to
block the country’s banks from processing the payment of bets made online by
Dutch citizens.

According to reports, Betfair is claiming that it has been applying to the Dutch
Government for an online gambling license since 2004, but with little success.
Also, the online betting firm is claiming that the Dutch government’s move to
manipulate its banks is nothing more than a ‘desperate and protectionist’ move.

Betfair is claiming that by forcing the country’s bank to block bets from
foreign-owned online gambling concerns, the government is unfairly protecting
its state-owned gambling company, De Lotto. For many years De Lotto has been the
only gambling concern in the country, which has made it a monopoly.

The Dutch Ministry of Justice disseminated letters to all of the country’s banks
claiming that ‘it was inappropriate for banks to provide facilities to the
providers of illegal games of chance.’ It went on to urge senior bank officials
to actively end their dealings with online gambling operators ‘within a
reasonable timeframe’.

Said Betfair managing director, Mark Davies, in a statement, ‘The Ministry of
Justice’s actions fly in the face of the EU principles of open and fair
competition. The government’s objective to shut out foreign operators while
feather-bedding domestic monopolies and protecting a cozy cartel cannot be
allowed to continue.’

Not only has Betfair instituted the lawsuit against the Dutch government, but
has also lodged formal complaint with the European Commission (EC). The EC is
currently spearheading a move across all European Union (EU) member states to
regulate online gambling with the aim of creating a ‘fair playing field’.

According to Betfair, the timing of the letters sent out to the Dutch banks was
‘questionable’, considering that the European Court of Justice – which is
handling lawsuits brought by Betfair and fellow betting firm Ladbrokes – still
has to rule on the compatibility of EU law with the Dutch Betting and Gaming
Act.

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