Argentina: Federal Court ruled against bwin operations at a national level
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Legal actions started when officers from the National Lottery detected illegal online gaming offer by Bwin Argentina in national media.
The Federal Court ratified the constitutionality of the operation of the National Lottery in the administration and operation of the sportsbooks offer at the federal jurisdiction by all the commercialization channels available, according to law 25.295 of Football Sports betting (PRODE).
“This measure is of vital importance for the public, because it guarantees the legality of all the Sports betting products offered by different media”, pointed sources of the National Lottery.
According to the aforementioned law, the National Lottery has the power to (article 4°) “generate resources assigned to the development, promotion, organization, participation and development of the sport in federal jurisdiction”. Besides, it was ratified the prohibition of introducing, by any means, the circulation or sale of any other sports betting contest that is not operated or commercialized by LNSE (article 19°).
So the Federal Court determined that considerations from Bwin Argentina and the Provincial Institute of Lotteries and Casinos of the Province of Buenos Aires –IPLyC- from Misiones “do not resist an analysis.” Of the judgement it is inferred that the complaint presented against the National Lottery is flawed and contradictory, because the IPLyC itself assumes that the power of regulation is strictly local, and the authorizations granted by the entity are valid inside the Misiones Province.
Besides, the judge remarks that the IPLyC “adhered to the National law 25.295 and the respective PRODE commercialization, in all its forms”, a law that now aims to be considered unconstitutional, on top of “having also agreed in its eighth clause that IPLyC SE (adherent) will not allow in its jurisdiction the organization of other contests of the same type (PRODE)”.
With regard to the matter of the unconstitutionality, the judge advised that the interpretation of Bwin Argentina of the article 7 of the National Constitution would mean that “the agreement between Bwin Argentina and IPLyC could be performed in the rest of the territory”; and remembered that, according to a recommendation of the Supreme Court of Justice, the request of unconstitutionality must be performed as a last resort.
Another contradiction that the judgement highlights is that Bwin Argentina and the IPLyC assume that Internet is a “translocal” medium that “trascends borders,” and at the same time aim to ignore the restriction to offer games of chance in jurisdictions where they are not authorized.
Bwin Argentina also affirmed that the use of Internet involved “travelling virtually to the Province of Misiones”, on top of appealing to the freedom of expression and ideas on Internet, as if it was a medium of communication or NGO, when they are offering games of chance operating for profit, something that is legally banned without previous authorization of each state lottery or entity equivalent of each jurisdiction.
An important background
Legal actions started when officers from the National Lottery detected illegal online gaming offer by Bwin Argentina in national media. Such company tried to hinder the control task through the request of unconstitutionality of the Sports betting law (articles 4° and 19°), which has been rejected by the justice in this judgement.
On top of backing the control tasks, this measures set up a background regarding the use of the new technologies, something key both for the national jurisdiction and for each of the provinces, in their role of preventing the illegal gaming offer by those media.
Besides, it sets the basis for the construction of the regulatory frame for the commercialization of Internet games, according to the task of the Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA) and with the article 81° of the new law of audiovisual media, that establishes that “the games of chance advertising will have to count with the previous authorization of the competent authority.”
“These controls are necessary for, on one hand, channel gaming activities to avoid addiction and avoid the abuse of illegal gaming, and, on the other hand, generate resources and bring a strict social allocation to the benefits,” pointed sources of the National Lottery in a recent press release.
“Thanks to those efforts, the capacities of the Federal Government are strenghtened as key actor in the games of chance administration, through a professional, efficient, transparent and socially responsive management,” the press release added.