20th of August 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
Four-year dispute ended
This week, an Argentinian federal court made a decision in a four year-long legal dispute which questioned the constitutionality of federal regulations that have created a gambling monopoly in the country, ruling in favor of the provisions, thanks to which the local group Loteria Nacional is the only legal operator and administrator for sports betting in the country, on all delivery channels, including the Internet.
Prior to this Argentina's provinces were able to issue intra-province gambling licenses, and as one of the licenses' holders, the major European betting group Bwin.Party digital entertainment was not happy with the new federal regulations. In return, its advertising of the Misiones-based website throughout Argentina outraged the national monopoly, which then launched litigation in 2008.
Things weren't good for Bwin from the very beginning, as it first saw a court in Buenos Aires favor Loteria Nacional and order Bwin to block local residents. Then, the European giant filed an appeal in which it claimed that its advertising invited punters to travel via the internet to its website to gamble in a legal jurisdiction, accusing the ruling of restricting the constitutional right to freedom of speech and keeping its operation live.
However, this is about to change as the Federal Court of Argentina this week refused the Bwin arguments, and found that the company had no right or authority to offer its betting services outside the province of Misiones.
Due to the decision, Bwin.Party and the Misiones licensing authority will have to pay substantial legal costs.
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