EGBA welcomes French online gambling ruling

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The European Gaming and Betting Association welcomed the Court of Appeal of Versailles decision today which calls into question the compatibility of French gaming legislation with European Union Law.

Didier Dewyn, ex-CEO of a gaming company licensed in Malta, had asked the court to stop criminal proceedings brought against him on April 16, 2007. He is accused of organizing "illicit lottery" and "clandestine betting on horse races."

The Court of Appeal's response today was to request additional information in order to ascertain whether the French gaming system complies with the European Court of Justice's case law.

"The burden of proof now lies with the French authorities to justify their regulatory framework [as being] consistent, proportionate and justified," said EGBA in a press release.

According to the release, the EGBA welcomes the decision of the Court of Appeal of Versailles, which relies on the consistent jurisprudence of the ECJ and, in particular, the Placanica ruling of March 6, 2007. In the Placanica ruling, the ECJ confirmed that betting services are covered by the European Union Treaty.

"We are delighted with this decision," said Sigrid Ligne, EGBA secretary general. "It is an important one and comes in the general context of the commitment taken by the French authorities to propose a controlled opening of the French gaming market by March 2008."

The EGBA is an association of leading European gaming and betting operators, including bwin and PartyGaming. The non-profit association promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in the EU to fair market access through the EU.

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