Ladbrokes to fight Norwegian gaming monopoly

Ladbrokes has said it will continue its fight to legally provide sports betting services in Norway as it launched an appeal against the rejection of its Norwegian sports betting license application.

The appeal comes after the Oslo City Court ruled last month that Ladbrokes was not allowed to offer its gambling services in competition with the Norwegian monopoly.

In 2004 Ladbrokes applied unsuccessfully for a licende to offer gambling services in Norway. The refusal to grant it a license led Ladbrokes to initiate legal proceedings against Norway, claiming that it breached the Rome treaty, EC directives and the EFTA agreement.

In October the District Court of Oslo ruled against Ladbrokes and found the Norwegian law on gambling to be fully compliant with the EFTA agreement and European obligations. Ladbrokes was ordered to pay the Norwegian State’s legal costs of USD 157.794.

John O’Reilly, Ladbrokes’ Managing Director, Remote Betting and Gaming said: “We are appealing the judgement because the court’s assessment of the evidence doesn’t relate directly to our case. Vital aspects in the EFTA-law court judgment of May 2007 have not been taken into consideration, and the judgment is solely built on the national “slot machine case” of March 2007 which is not relevant to our application.

„The monopoly laws in Norway conflict with the EU Treaty, particularly with regard to the principles of freedom of establishment and the free movement of services. We continue to challenge for our right to be regulated in Norway and to provide free and fair competition to the monopoly.“

Jan Magne Juuhl-Langseth, the counsel for Ladbrokes in Norway, added: “Ladbrokes have decided to appeal, particularly because the City Court has not assessed the Norwegian monopoly in the light of the guidance given previously by the EFTA-court in Luxembourg.”

“Just because a monopoly is considered legitimate by the Norwegian state, doesn’t make it right. We are looking forward to see our case being tested in the Court of Appeal,“ said Lasse Dilschmann CEO of Ladbrokes Nordics.