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BETandWIN Co-Founds European Betting Association

17 February 2004

VIENNA, Austria – (Press Release) -- As previously communicated, the European sports betting and gaming industry is currently undergoing a major transition. In view of the trail-blazing verdict of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Gambelli case, it is anticipated that individual national markets will have to open up to private operators within the European single market in the medium term.

Pursuant to the ECJ decision announced on 6 November 2003, all EU member states must ensure that providers are permitted to offer the services they are licensed to provide in their respective countries of origin in other EU countries, unless national restrictions are justified on the grounds of public interest. The European Court of Justice ruled that a member state cannot give the maintenance of public order as a reason for justifying restrictive measures whilst at the same time encouraging participation in lotteries, games of chance or betting with a view to ensuring a revenue stream for public coffers.

Against this background, the board members of betandwin, Norbert Teufelberger and Manfred Bodner, have been actively encouraging the association of leading European online gaming providers to form a non-profit organisation. Stig M. Hebern, acting as interim secretary general, and Torbjorn Ihre, a highly regarded lobbyist, are heading up a representation in Brussels. Their job is to equally represent the interests of both customers and operators in Brussels. A

part from the Vienna and Gibraltar-based Interactive Entertainment AG, the new organisation has been founded by three other leading online gaming companies.

European Betting Association Becomes Active

European Betting Association (EBA) is a network of leading European Internet sports betting and gaming providers. The association has set itself the goal of creating and ensuring fair and uniform market access conditions within the European single market, whilst at the same time adhering to self-imposed, high quality standards.

EBA intends to maintain a continuous process to support free competition, thus also ensuring fair consumer prices in the spirit of the principles of the EU and furthering its legal, economic and political interests. The association will help to establish and maintain a socio-politically correct approach to "I-gaming" (the provision of sports betting and gaming products via the Internet) in Europe by participating in a consultation process aimed at developing appropriate national and EU-wide legislation.

Although the free transport of goods across the borders of the EU has become a matter of course, like the freedom to provide services, freedom of movement and freedom of establishment for every EU citizen within the community, in many instances the sports betting and gaming markets of individual member states are still organised as if there were no unified Europe. The low payout ratios of state-owned gaming monopoly companies, though justified by the need to protect the population of the country, actually represent higher indirect taxes for their citizens. EBA considers this type of protectionism outdated and unjustified.

EBA Introduces Ethical Principles for I-Gaming

By subscribing to the organisation (numerous leading online gaming companies are currently joining), members of EBA pledge to observe ethical guidelines in all aspects of their I-gaming activities. In the medium term, EBA envisages the introduction of these guidelines as a compulsory standard for the industry. Based on a quality seal, the objective is to make it easier for online customers to determine whether the website of their choice is a trustworthy I-gaming provider observing EBA guidelines.

The issues of minors and problem gaming are also high on EBA's agenda. As part of an extensive programme for potential problem players, a cooperation project with accredited universities is already underway to develop software products for the early recognition of problem players and their subsequent care.

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