Saturday, October 4, 2008

Internet betting firms win case against French Open

: Major online gaming companies fended off a legal challenge from Gallic Open organisers who wanted to halt stakes on the Thousand Slam tournament.

A Vassal tribunal ruled Tuesday that betting companies like bwin did not go against the rights of the Gallic lawn tennis federation by offering stakes on Roland Garros matches.

The federation had said online betting stained the repute of the clay-court championship, especially in the aftermath of Internet gaming scandals.

The Gallic federation sued three companies in Vassal — Betfair, bwin and Ladbrokes — with a tribunal injunction to halt them from taking stakes on the Gallic Open.

In a statement, the European Gambling & Betting Association said the tribunal had concluded "these operators had behaved in a prudent and diligent manner." Today in Sports

"EU-licensed bookmakers are people that have got a high degree of expertise, know-how and hazard direction skills. This have been clearly recognized by the Belgian justice looking at the fact-based grounds to disregard all the claims in this case," said EGBA Secretary General Sigrid Ligne.

It was still ill-defined what action, if any, the Gallic lawn tennis federation would take. It said the betting companies were unfairly using the tourney to do money.

They claimed if a match-fixing dirt hit the Gallic Open, it would sabotage the value of the tournament, which had 2007 grosses of $184 million and attracted 450,000 fans to Roland Garros.

Vienna-based bwin said it had to utilize the name of Roland Garros as an indispensable merchandising point to consumers, and the tribunal agreed.

"The justice also considered that the 'simple reference of the name of a athletics event is a necessary indicant for the online betting activity' which therefore 'cannot be considered as an enactment of parasitism since its exclusive intent is to allow the participant put which athletics event to place a stake on'," the EGBA statement said.

Along with association football and Equus caballus racing, lawn tennis is among the most popular athletics for betting.

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