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Offshore Gambling Websites Win French Case

by Ulrike Lomas, Tax-news.com, Brussels

20 April 2010


Three of France's largest casino groups who joined together to sue several online casino operators with the objective of blocking any licensing to the defendants for at least two years have had their case dismissed by the French courts.

Casino groups Barrière, Joagroupe, Tranchant and the Casinos de France trade union claimed that the operators, by offering online casino games in the French language to French residents, contravened current gaming legislation and new e-gaming laws set to come into effect in June 2010. They also alleged that the online operators had deprived the French state of tax revenues and were not upholding the principles of player protection and fighting against problem gambling, fraud and money laundering.

The operators defending the suit, including Sportingbet, Bwin, and Unibet, argued successfully that their activities were outside the jurisdiction of the French courts and in conformity with European law and the law of the territories in which they operated, which include Malta and Gibraltar. They further argued that the plaintiffs were not empowered to bring actions which relate to tax revenue losses, social and criminal issues - more properly the realm of the French state.

The plaintiffs wanted, in addition, to block the issue of licenses, a token EUR1 in damages and EUR30,000 costs, together with publication of the judgement in the French newspapers.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp
TAGS: court | tax | Gibraltar | Malta | commerce | law | internet | e-commerce | gambling | licensing | legislation | France

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