L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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19 September 2006 Blog Home : September 2006 : Permalink

France Copies USA

During the summer the nasty Americans have arrested a number of foreign (usually British) blokes for running on-line gambling sites and, worse, inciting poor helpless American punters to spend their hard-earned cash on them. OK so I'm being a tad sarcastic but the summary is basically correct. The trick is that the US has many state and federal regulations that limit gambling in various ways and very few of these have been properly upgraded to the internet age, hence there is a certain difficulty in ensuring compliance. This is compounded by the fact that, in general, the regulations are intended to prohibit certain forms of gambling. Well it will not doubt all sort it self out eventually, although given the huge amount of lobbying performed by various gambling interests it seems unlikely that any sort of totally deregulated free market is going to show up and time soon.

However those of us in decadent Europe who thought that all we had to do was mock the puritans across the pond have another think coming. It turns out that the French have decided to copy the Americans and arrest people who show up in France who have something to do with online betting. As the Grauniad reports, AS Monaco FC may have made a bit of a booboo in its choice of sponsors this season:

MONACO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Ligue 1 club Monaco said on Saturday Austrian online betting firm bwin.com, whose joint chief executives were detained for questioning by French authorities, would remain their sponsors.

"Monaco was not informed of any judicial problems between the executives of bwin and the French authorities," Monaco said in a statement.

"Therefore the commercial agreements between Monaco and bwin still stand," the statement read.

Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger, joint CEOs of bwin, were detained for questioning by French authorities on Friday because of alleged violation of French gaming laws.

Gambling is a state monopoly in France and online betting firms are banned from seeking clients on French territory.

French police detained Bodner and Teufelberger just before the scheduled start of a news conference called to outline a sponsorship between bwin and Monaco, who play in the French league (Ligue 1).

The news conference was due to take part at Monaco's training facilities in French territory just outside the Mediterranean seaside principality.

Bwin are the shirt sponsors of Monaco and also have sponsorship deals with several other Ligue 1 clubs and other leading European clubs.

It is interesting to note that had the news conference been held within the principality of Monaco, the Bwin executives would probably have remained free because Monaco is, of course, a separate nation. However that is rather by the by, just as in the US one suspects that the problem is not so much the ostensible one of preventing the punters from wasting their money as the current gambling businesses using the law to stifle rivals.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin