ECJ Ruling May Restore Sports Club Budgets in Germany

Published Friday, September 03, 2010 -

The online gambling industry in Europe has been making headway in certain countries with the sponsorship of national sports leagues supporting teams in order to get advertising rights at sporting events.
The Luxembourg headquartered European Court of Justice is scheduled to rule Sept. 8 2k10 on whether Germany’s interstate gambling treaty breaks European Union regulations. If the ruling is in favour of opening up the wagering market in Germany sports may benefit in funding from the nation’s 7.8-billion euro gambling market.
Gambling firms are featured on the jerseys of twenty clubs in Europe’s five most popular leagues, which is more than any other industry can claim.
Bwin Interactive Entertainment has a deal with Real Madrid, nine-time European League champions estimated by the Remote Gambling Association to be worth 45 million euros over three years.
French, teams got a 20-million euro boost this season after the nation’s online gambling market was liberalized.
There have been a number of suggestions as to which way the ECJ will rule on the Germany monopoly.
Gebhard Rehm, a professor of law at the Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet in Munich published his opinion in 2008 stating, "The state treaty is in my opinion not in conformity with European law," adding, "But the European Court of Justice has hinted in previous decisions at the legality and the admissibility of the system and you never know what the German government has tried to do behind the scenes in order to have that accepted in Luxembourg."
Courts deemed the relationships between bwin and some soccer clubs in Germany illegal in 2007.
Hartmut Schultz, a bwin spokesperson said, before Germany banned online betting and on advertising for odds makers, bwin's German subsidiary spent  "between 60 and 70 million euros," with an emphasis on soccer. The German unit had in comparison a marketing budget of only 3.7 million euros in 2009.  Schultz, continued, "If the market were to be liberalized again, this budget would naturally be restored,"

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