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Bwin Loses Bid to Halt Online Ban in German State

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Sep/23/2008
bwin

(Bloomberg) - Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG lost a court bid to overturn a 2007 prohibition against offering online gambling and other Internet games to customers in the German state of Lower Saxony.

The administrative court in Hanover, Lower Saxony's capital, threw out Bwin's action against the state government today. The ruling can be appealed.

Bwin has been entangled in numerous lawsuits over online gambling in Germany. The country's 16 states reinstated a collective ban on Internet betting Jan. 1.

``We have no doubt that the German state monopoly on Internet betting is legal and have ruled so several times,'' presiding Judge Werner Reccius said at the hearing. ``This ruling only applies in Lower Saxony but if it prompts Bwin to shut down its Web sites in all of Germany, this would only reflect what the law actually is.''

Vienna-based Bwin has sued several states over the issue, arguing the rules violate European law. European Union regulators started proceedings against Germany on Jan. 31 over the ban.

``What the court is contemplating here is putting Bwin out of business, it's negating my client's constitutional right to freely choose a profession,'' Bwin lawyer Clemens Weidemann, of the firm Gleiss Lutz, told the court before the ruling. ``This is against what top German and European courts have held.''

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