Betfair has announced it will lodge a formal complaint with the European Commission (EC) today (Monday) with regard to the newly passed Cypriot gambling legislation which the company says may lead to betting exchanges being unable to operate legally in Cyprus.
The new law adopted by the Cypriot Parliament in early July 2012 additionally prohibits cash betting transactions by betting operators.
According to a company statement, Betfair’s complaint to the EC says that any attempted ban on betting exchanges is a discriminatory and disproportionate breach of EU law as it may apply only to exchange providers, with all other sports betting products remaining unaffected.
Cypriot authorities are justifying the restriction as minimising the risk of money laundering and match fixing.
Betfair recently signed a MoU for the exchange of information with the Cyprus Football Association and has undertaken sponsorships of numerous Cypriot football teams.
Martin Cruddace, chief legal and regulatory officer at Betfair said:
“Having played a constructive role in the preparatory phase of a draft Cypriot law, we were disappointed with the inclusion of elements within it which could unfairly discriminate Betfair and in any event are clearly incompatible with EU law. We have therefore asked the Commission to review the matter and engage with the Cypriot authorities, with the aim of addressing the concerns raised in our complaint.
“Betfair is a transparent and responsible operator, with a track record of working cooperatively alongside governments in any jurisdiction in which it operates. Current Cypriot law goes against European free market principles and we look forward to working with the Commission and the Cypriot government so we can continue to provide our Cypriot customers with Betfair’s best-in-class Exchange product and odds value.”
The company intends continuing its operations in Cyprus while the complaint is heard by the European Commission.