Betfair vs. Cypriot Law: EC to Rule in This Case


An announcement came this week from online gambling company Betfair that it is to file a formal complaint with the European Commission (EC) about the newly passed Cypriot gambling legislation.

Apparently, the company finds that the new law, adopted by the Cypriot Parliament in early July 2012, which additionally prohibits cash betting transactions by betting operators, may lead to betting exchanges being unable to operate legally in Cyprus.

Also, in its complaint to the EC, Betfair assessed that any attempted ban on betting exchanges is 'a discriminatory and disproportionate breach of EU law as it may apply only to exchange providers,' while all other sports betting products will remain unaffected.

According to Cypriot authorities, the restriction is justified as it strives to minimize the risk of money laundering and match fixing. However, Betfair has much reason to disagree and try to protect its recent movements, such as a MoU for the exchange of information with the Cyprus Football Association and sponsorships of numerous Cypriot football teams.

It was assessed by Martin Cruddace, chief legal and regulatory officer at Betfair: 'Having played a constructive role in the preparatory phase of a draft Cypriot law, we were disappointed with the inclusion of elements within it which could unfairly discriminate Betfair and in any event are clearly incompatible with EU law. We have therefore asked the Commission to review the matter and engage with the Cypriot authorities, with the aim of addressing the concerns raised in our complaint.

'Betfair is a transparent and responsible operator, with a track record of working cooperatively alongside governments in any jurisdiction in which it operates. Current Cypriot law goes against European free market principles and we look forward to working with the Commission and the Cypriot government so we can continue to provide our Cypriot customers with Betfair's best-in-class Exchange product and odds value.'

In conclusion, the company specified that it plans to keep operating in Cyprus while the complaint is heard by the European Commission.

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