28 June 2007

First extensive medical research about online gambling

For the very first time researchers from the Harvard Medical School faculty from the Division on Addictions have been able to analyse the behaviour of online gamblers during their gambling activities.

The study has followed a sample of more than 40.000 individual online gamblers over a period of 8 months. It is the first time ever that such a large investigation is based on the actual online gaming behaviour rather than on self-reports. This has been made possible due to the collaboration with the private online operator and EGBA member bwin that has opened its data centre to the researchers of Harvard Medical School. The first publication of this ongoing research study can be found under http://www.divisiononaddictions.org/html/library.htm.

Preliminary results of this ongoing study have been presented by Drs. Howard Shaffer and Richard LaBrie of Havard Medical School at a workshop hosted by EGBA in which leading experts in the field of gaming, addiction and social responsibility took part. "Addiction has on many occasions been raised as one of the concerns associated with gambling related activites. Our intensive research reveals that many different elements contribute to the fact that only a very small proportion of people experience gambling addiction, whether online or with traditional forms of gambling. Moreover, the most striking result of this research shows that the assumption of a typical gambler being somebody out of control is fundamentally wrong. This data shows that a typical online gambler risks 148€ and has a loss of about 33€ during a period of 8 months" according to professor Howard J. Shaffer, head of this research project.

"We are very pleased that one of our members, bwin, has been willing to contribute to such an important scientific project. This study and its first results bring some important insight to the behavioural aspects and helps us all better understand what possible problems may arise and how to minimise them. EGBA has always stressed that any policy decision should be based upon scientifically proven facts and figures. We therefore call upon national governments and the scientific community in Europe to take these methodologies into account and conduct further studies when regulating online gambling." says Sigrid Ligné, secretary general of the EGBA, the European association of private online gaming and betting operators. “In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of online gambling, extensive research needs to be conducted.

This study has the merit that it shows for the first time the very limited impact on addiction among online gamblers. But at the same time education remains necessary and governments have a responsibility to take up this aspect", according to Geoffrey Godbold, CEO of GamCare in London. EGBA reminds regulators that this peer-reviewed study proves its awareness of and commitment to responsible gaming. Moreover, all EGBA members are bound to comply with the EGBA Code of Conduct. This self-regulation system was set up by investigating industry best practice, leading jurisdictions and state monopoly standards and will be independently monitored.

press release EGBA

EGBA welcomes the adoption of a Code of Conduct on sports betting by 23 European Lotteries

The EGBA, representing the main European online gaming and sports betting operators, welcomes the adoption of a code of conduct on sports betting by 23 European lotteries, and calls on the remaining to do the same. EGBA members have already adopted a strict and obligatory code of conduct since 2003 in protecting players, fighting money laundering and gambling addiction in sports betting and all other games offered online.

Private operators have for several years taken strong commitments and actions to offer safe and secured online games and bets. According to Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA, “in the specific case of sport betting, private initiatives such as the European Sports Security Association (www.eu-ssa.org), are already largely contributing to enhance clean and fair sports by alerting the competent sport regulators on irregular betting patterns. ESSA has signed specific cooperation agreements with FIFA, UEFA, and the Royal Belgian Football Association. The EGBA recalls that corruption of sport teams is strongly damaging clubs, gaming operators and players.

By adopting their code of conduct, lotteries are following the example of EGBA members who implemented a strict code of conduct since the creation of the association in 2003. In the frame of corporate responsibility, EGBA members have taken strict measures such as the regular checking of IDs, providing assistance to problem gamblers, implementing the strictest anti money laundering standards, and preventing taking bets on questionable sport events.

press release EGBA

EGBA welcomes further steps to remove national gambling protectionism

The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA), welcomes today’s decision by the European Commission to challenge two of the largest EU gambling monopolies by sending a reasoned opinion to Sweden and France and by pursuing infringement proceedings against Greece.

“As the guardian of the EU Treaty, the Commission has taken another important step towards removing unjustified restrictive national measures and creating a level playing field and a single market across the EU. The measures designed to protect national or regional markets do nothing to serve the population of the EU - they are discriminatory, inconsistent and clearly against both progress and simple single market principles”, says EGBA Secretary-General Sigrid Ligné. “While this is an important step forward, we urge Finland, Hungary, Denmark and now Sweden and France to follow the clear requests of the Commission to bring their legislation in conformity with EU law. It is time now for the Governments to accept a dialogue with the leading European operators and to seek the development of sustainable and fair regulation in order to prevent lengthy court actions.”

Today’s decision to send a Reasoned Opinion against Sweden shows that the Commission’s infringement procedures can be suspended only on the basis of solid evidence that the national authorities are in the process of bringing the targeted national legislation in full conformity with EU law.

The EGBA hopes that France’s new government will understand that accepting the principles laid down in the EU Treaty and working closely with the European Commission is the only way to meaningfully regulate the gambling and betting industry in Europe, an industry that like many other sectors, now transcends state borders through the Internet. Proper regulation and control of this increasingly popular activity is the only sensible way forward as demonstrated in several other EU Member States, including the UK.

OPAP, the Greek national monopoly, has over the years continued to maximise its profits, expanding its activities beyond the Greek borders while preventing a fair access of EU operators to its market. “The decision to open an infringement procedure against Greece was widely expected since the purpose of OPAP is clearly not to seek a genuine decrease of gambling opportunities” says Ligné.

Sigrid Ligné also said: “To claim that only closed, nationally monopolistic markets can protect the consumer when it comes to gambling services is clearly untrue. It is a fact that EGBA’s Code of Conduct applies to all of its members in addition to their national legal requirements, and is independently verified. It requires additional standards of consumer protection and social responsibility that match or even exceed those established by many EU gambling monopolies.” In particular, the Code seeks to address a number of key concerns such as problem gambling and by ensuring that children are prevented from playing and that vulnerable players are properly protected. “In our view, European adults have the right to use the Internet for gambling services if they so choose and should be able to access properly regulated and legitimate service providers, irrespective of their location in the EU. Ultimately, the nature of the Internet means that the best way to guarantee that all public and private actors comply with appropriate rules and regulations would be to agree on a framework at the EU level” says Sigrid Ligné.

press release EBGA

27 June 2007

Infringement proceedings against France, Sweden and Greece

Crucial development for private gaming sector:
- Infringement proceedings against France and Sweden to be continued
- Initiation of infringement proceedings against Greece
- Austria yields to pressure from Commission in infringement proceedings

bwin welcomes today's decision by the European Commission to continue the infringement proceedings already instituted against France and Sweden in connection with gaming by issuing reasoned opinions. These so-called reasoned opinions represent the second stage in infringement proceedings. If the countries involved do not now take the demands of the European Commission into account, they are liable to be taken before the European Court of Justice.

The fact that Greece now also sees itself confronted with infringement proceedings can be attributed to the many protectionist measures on the Greek gaming market that are not in compliance with EU legislation.

The European Court of Justice recently declared Sweden's alcohol monopoly to be in contravention of EU legislation, and the gaming monopoly is now also coming under increasing pressure. The fact that, in the opinion of the European Court of Justice, the alcohol monopoly is not in conformity with the basic freedoms of the European Union makes us optimistic that the enlightened regulation of the gaming market will soon be forthcoming, commented Norbert Teufelberger, bwin Co-CEO.

Even France, which in the past has acted particularly aggressively towards private gaming providers licensed in the EU, has not managed to convince the Commission that its monopoly of gaming and horseracing is in conformity with EU legislation. In a detailed opinion the Commission has sharply criticized the discrepancies in the existing French regulations.

The initiation of infringement proceedings against Greece is also an indication that monopolies - even in sensitive areas such as alcohol, banking and gaming - are no longer in keeping with the times, and that cross-border solutions in keeping with EU legislation are called for instead. Only very recently, Greek market makers have frequently found themselves confronted with criminal proceedings, whereas the government's publicly listed OPAP company was free to maximize profits in the interests of shareholder value. This makes the Commission's decision to institute infringement proceedings all the more gratifying, said bwin Co-CEO Manfred Bodner.

The Austrian government has so far been unable to refute the Commission's accusations in the infringement proceedings against Austria. The Austrian government has therefore been obliged to assure the Commission that appropriate amendments will be made to its gaming laws with respect to the discrimination of foreign gamers and advertising restrictions for non-Austrian providers. If Austria fails to implement these amendments within the next few months, this would be in blatant infringement of European legislation, and the Commission would continue its formal infringement proceedings by initiating the second stage. This concession by the Austrian government shows that members states are aware that national gaming monopolies are not compatible with European law, and cannot therefore be sustained in the long term. This represents a positive step towards a modern, competitive legislative framework for cross-border gaming.

The bwin Group has over 11 million registered customers (including 7 million "play money" customers) in over 20 core target markets. Operating under international and regional licences in countries like Gibraltar, Kahnawake (Canada), Belize and Germany, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, Austria and the United Kingdom, the Group is the number one address for sports betting, games and entertainment via digital distribution channels. The Group offers sports betting, poker, casino games, soft and skill games, as well as audio and video streams on top sporting events such as the German Soccer League. The parent company, bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since March 2000 (ID code "BWIN", Reuters ID code "BWIN.VI"). All details about the company can be found on its investor relations website at www.bwin.ag.

press release bwin

26 June 2007

Deal Rumours Suggest Legal Uncertainties Growing In Germany

www.gamblingcompliance.com 26 June 2007

by James Kilsby

With pressure growing from both its national courts and the European Commission to determine a coherent gambling policy, politicians charged with steering Germany towards new gambling legislation are showing signs of denial.

Observers of the German gambling market have expressed surprise at the state Prime Ministers’ failure to approach the topic of gambling at the most recent prime ministerial conference in Berlin last Friday.

“At least as far as I’m aware, gambling was not discussed at the meeting,” says German gaming lawyer Martin Arendts, of the firm Arendts Anwalte. In accordance with a constitutional court ruling of March 2006, the Prime Ministers of the sixteen German Lander must unanimously adopt new legislation covering betting in Germany before January 1, 2008. The court found the existing state monopoly to be unconstitutional in its current form.

Expectation that the Prime Ministers would come round to addressing gambling at the latest meeting, after their failure to do so in March, had been raised by the European Commission’s continued interest in the current draft for new legislation, which the Commission clearly considers to be totally at odds with various aspects of European Community law. PR campaigns from private lottery companies highlighting the need for new legislation further served to raise the issue’s profile in the German media, one gaming company even taking out a full-page advertisement in a German newspaper.

The lack of news following last Friday’s meeting will therefore be of surprise to many, of disappointment to some and a relief to others. A report published in popular German weekly publication Der Spiegel on Saturday, and since circulated widely by Reuters, suggests instead that the state Prime Ministers are awaiting further guidance from the European Commission on the matter. According to Der Spiegel, representatives from the German Lander have arranged to meet with the European Commission sometime in early July.

Der Spiegel also reports that the German states have been offered a form of compromise deal by the European Commission that would allow the states to keep their lottery monopolies so long as the German sports betting market is opened to private operators. If sports betting was liberalised “the Commission would in no way challenge the existence and continuation of the states’ monopolies on lotteries and other forms of gambling,” says the report, citing an anonymous source in Brussels.

Given that it is the duty of the European Commission to monitor all European markets, such a clear-cut compromise certainly seems unlikely to be binding. Arendts agrees that any deal with the Commission could only be a temporary solution. “I cannot imagine how such a compromise would work,” he says.

According to Arendts, a compromise in which sports betting was liberalised would allow the European Commission to draw a line under the open infringement investigation into the German sports betting market, which could even be raised to the level of a Reasoned Opinion this week, as well as rendering the Commission’s investigation into the draft Interstate Lotteries Treaty obsolete as that would not be adopted. “It could only relate to the infringement proceedings that are already open,” he says.

A compromise between the Commission and Germany would not have any bearing on future cases to be decided in courts in either Germany or Luxembourg. “A deal would not have any effect on upcoming court cases within Germany – of which there are thousands. There are also two cases (related to cross-border gambling) due in the European Court of Justice and the ECJ doesn’t care about political compromises,” says Arendts.

Severe doubts surrounding the legitimacy of the states’ lottery monopolies, monopolies that would presumably go unchallenged by the Commission under the terms of the agreement over sports betting, have been raised by recent German court rulings. Last week, the Federal Supreme Court upheld rulings delivered by both the Federal Cartel Office and the Higher Regional Court in Dusseldorf that the cartel of German state lottery companies, Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock, has contravened both German and European anti-trust law by agreeing not compete within one another across German state borders.

In the current situation, an agreement with the European Commission would by no means ease all of Lotto- und Totoblock’s woes. Moreover, according to Arendts, even if the European Commission has offered a compromise, there is no guarantee that it would prove to be an acceptable political solution to the German Lander, as the Prime Ministers of certain states remain determined to keep sports betting under state control. “It will be very hard to agree a compromise. Various German states would not agree to this,” he says.

For Arendts, the lack of discussion on the issue last week further increases the possibility that the German states will be unable to agree on legislation before the deadline set by the constitutional court. “They are really running into trouble. Not only do they have to find a solution but also they have to pass a Parliamentary Act. Most state Parliaments have ignored the problem until now.”

One option would be for the Bundestag to take the matter out of the states’ hands and pass a federal law. Arendts does not consider this a likely alternative however. “The Bundestag sports committee had a meeting and decided not to pass a Federal law and this [position] is not going to change. If the Federal government stepped in, it would change the nature of ‘checks and balances’ between the Bundestag and the German states – they even changed the German constitution last year to protect these checks and balances so it is an extremely sensitive political situation.”

As the gambling industry approaches the second half of 2007, the odds appear to be shortening on Germany passing new betting legislation before the year’s end. The Federal Government could reluctantly still step in at that point to avoid the constitutional crisis that would ensue if no agreement is reached in the next six months. The lack of a consensus at a state level suggests that it may yet have to.

25 June 2007

European Commission proposes gambling monopoly compromise

According to the German magazine "Der Spiegel", the European Commission has offered Germany a compromise allowing it to continue with state monopolies on lotteries and casinos. The article reported that, by allowing sports betting firms to operate in its state jurisdictions, Germany would not face a challenge to the 'existence and continuation of the states’ monopolies on lotteries and other forms of gambling' by the EU.

24 June 2007

First empirical study of online gaming behaviour

To date, only speculations have been available to guide our understanding of the scale of gaming and problematic gaming behaviour among online sports betting. Now the initial results of a unique, broad-based study investigating the gaming behaviour of online players are available, which begins to shed light on the potential for gaming related problems.

Harvard Medical School faculty from the Division on Addictions have been active in the addiction research and treatment field for the past 30 years. They have been cooperating with bwin since May 2005 to undertake a research project the like of which has never been done before. For the first time ever, researchers are examining online gaming, not by means of difficult to verify opinions and self-report, but by carefully studying the actual online behaviour of players. In an anonymous study, researchers observed the actual behaviour of more than 40,000 active bwin users for a period of eight months. The first findings have now been published and might be surprising to some.

The first publication from this project is available at the Division on Addictions (http://www.divisiononaddictions.org/html/library.htm). The majority of the players observed in the course of the study exhibited moderate gaming behaviour. For example, the average loss of the players participating in this eight-month study amounted to 33 euro. Only 0.4% of the total sample could be classified as distinctively heavy bettors with large losses, suggesting that only a limited number of players might have serious financial problems. Further research will now investigate how many players report gaming related problems at every level of play.

These encouraging initial results from the long-term study indicate that the potential of sports betting to cause a problem is considerably lower than generally presumed. Drs. Howard Shaffer and Richard LaBrie of Harvard Medical School conducted a workshop on Thursday in Vienna attended by leading European gaming experts.

One of the workshop participants was Geoffrey Godbold, Chief Executive Officer of GAMcare. He said that "this research will help identify addictive gamblers at an early stage." He also suggested that, in terms of future regulation, "it is important not to spoil the fun of the majority but rather target the small minority that has problems."

Howard Shaffer noted, "This is a landmark project for both the gaming industry and science because we are studying the actual gambling behaviour of a large sample of Internet gamblers for the very first time. I am proud of bwin for committing to using science as a guide to assuring the welfare of their customers and to advancing the safety of the Internet and new technology."

"Particularly in view of the fact that gaming addiction is used generally as an argument to justify betting and gaming monopolies, these initial results are specially gratifying." bwin Co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger comments the research project initiated by bwin. Co-CEO Manfred Bodner adds: "The intensive collaboration between researchers on the one hand and practitioners on the other warrants that science does not conduct research without taking practical experience into account. bwin has dared to take that step and has consulted independent experts on this subject matter. Which has proven to be a good decision in all aspects."

The bwin Group has over 11 million registered customers (including 7 million "play money" customers) in over 20 core target markets. Operating under international and regional licences in countries like Gibraltar, Kahnawake (Canada), Belize and Germany, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, Austria and the United Kingdom, the Group is the number one address for sports betting, games and entertainment via digital distribution channels. The Group offers sports betting, poker, casino games, soft and skill games, as well as audio and video streams on top sporting events such as the German Soccer League. The parent company, bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since March 2000 (ID code "BWIN", Reuters ID code "BWIN.VI"). All details about the company can be found on its investor relations website at www.bwin.ag

press release bwin

20 June 2007


Spain's communications watchdog, Asociación de Usuarios de la Comunicación (AUC), has logged a formal complaint with Spain's Ministry of Economy and Taxes, demanding an investigation into online gaming company, bwin's sponsorship of Real Madrid.

Real Madrid earlier this month signed a deal to make Austrian on-line betting firm Bwin its main sponsor. The Spanish media reported the deal to be worth between €15 million and €20 million.

The AUC believes that the shirt sponsorship is breaking up to as many as eight Spanish laws which they claim make it illegal for unlicensed online gaming companies to advertise their services in Spain.

888.com’s shirt sponsorship of Seville and Miapuesta’s deal with Figueres have also caught the attention of the AUC.


15 June 2007

Consequences of the Ladbrokes decision

quotation from World Online Gambling Law Report, May 2007

Ladbrokes: key guidance on restriction of services

by Martin Arendts, M.B.L.-HSG


In my view, the quintessence of the Ladbrokes decision is clearly the intensified analysis in the assessment of gambling services. Questions which recently have been regarded as purely political or which the ECJ mentioned incidentally have now come under the strict scrutiny of the judges.

The consistency test, developed by the ECJ in several decisions over the years, has now become a very detailed examination of the political aims and objectives and an explicit verification of the behaviour of the monopoly operators. The judges will now
have to address complex and discretionary issues, such as whether the advertising of the gambling and betting services is more informative than evocative in nature. National measures, aims put forward by the state or objectives are no longer sheltered from judicial review. The only exception which remains in the state’s discretion is the level of protection sought. Even then, the judges will have to decide whether the national gaming policy is indeed consistent and systematic on one hand, or whether it may be necessary to distinguish between the different games on the other hand.

The Ladbrokes as well as the Gaming Machines decisions provide for an extensive check list of questions the courts will have to answer in the affirmative in order to uphold a monopoly. Therefore, I do not comprehend why Norsk Tipping, European Lotteries as well as Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock publicly announced that they are pleased with the Ladbrokes decision. The present legal regulations in most EEA Member States certainly do not fulfil the requirements the ECJ and the EFTA Court have set out. For example, Germany has a very inconsistent policy and no uniform level of protection. The same holds true for most other EU Member States with a gambling monopoly.

The plan to uphold a national monopoly at any cost will backfire in the long run, as judges and not politicians will have a greater say on the subject. This intensified judicial review will have a strong impact on national jurisdictions and national legislation issues. In this respect, it will certainly no longer be sufficient that a national court can simply decide that combating gambling addiction justifies any restriction of the fundamental freedoms. The State will have to demonstrate that only a monopoly will provide for a lower level of gambling addiction in society than would be the case without restrictions on free movement. The national court will have to ascertain the suitability and necessity of national measures in detail. Also the legislator will have to assess the potential risks associated with different games and decide on a uniform system of protection.

13 June 2007

German Court Says Lottery Cartel Violates Anti-Trust Laws

by James Kilsby, gamblingcompliance.com

The Higher Regional Court in Dusseldorf has upheld an earlier ruling of August 2006 that the Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock's regionalised division of the German lottery market constitutes a violation of both European and German law.

The German Federal Cartel Office ruled last year that the agreement between the 16 state monopoly lottery operators in German to restrict their operations purely to their own regions to avoid entering into competition with one another represented an illegal cartel, in contravention of both German and European anti-trust laws.

Private lottery operator FLUXX AG initiated proceedings against the Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock once the group attempted to prohibit private lottery distributors from selling various state lottery products in gas stations and other outlets throughout Germany, i.e. outside of the lottery’s state of origin and therefore effectively in competition with the products of a ‘rival’ state monopoly.

“Private operators wanted to sell products from state lottery companies that paid the highest commission but the Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock tried to ban commercial operators,” explains leading German gaming lawyer Martin Arendts. “The court has said that under this system the monopoly operators do not compete with each other and form a cartel. It is illegal under German cartel law to agree not to compete.”

The Dusseldorf decision means that the 2006 ruling will now come into effect and private lottery companies should be free to distribute state lottery products throughout the country. Arendts believes that the verdict has even broader consequences for the German gambling industry. “This is a very fundamental decision. It almost outlaws the Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock which is a kind of illegal organization now,” he says.

A spokesman from the Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock was unavailable for comment yesterday although Gamblingcompliance.com understands that the group has indicated its intention to appeal the decision in the Federal Court of Justice.

In a second Detailed Opinion on the draft Interstate Lotteries Treaty proposed by the German Lander in 2006, the European Commission emphatically highlighted that the treaty renewing the states’ betting monopolies and outlawing the use of the internet for all gambling services would be illegal under European law were it to be adopted. Arendts believes that the verdict in Dusseldorf on Friday will now further increase the pressure on the 16 state Prime Ministers to discuss alternative legislation at their next scheduled meeting on June 22. “They should discuss new regulation now,” he says.


11 June 2007

bwin new main sponsor of Real Madrid

bwin is pleased to announce a new partnership starting on 1 July 2007 as official main sponsor of Real Madrid, the top Spanish football club. The agreement has initially been concluded for a period of three seasons.

Apart from displaying the bwin logo on the jerseys of the Real Madrid team at national and international matches, the cooperation agreement also extends to extensive branding of the stadiums and Real Madrid's training ground.

The strategic decision to enter into this partnership should be seen against the background that several EU member states have yet to accept the freedom of establishment and services in the area of online gaming, despite the fact that both the European Commission and the European Court of Justice are of the opinion that the offering of online gaming is subject to the free movement of services and the freedom of establishment laid down in the Treaty on European Union. In the future, bwin will therefore be investing its available sponsoring resources in markets that have adopted an enlightened attitude to the subject of gaming regulation.

press release of bwin

04 June 2007

European Lotteries pleased with EFTA Court ruling

press release of European Lotteries:

No obligation to open gambling markets, says European court

· Governments may reject commercial operators
· No obligation to recognise licenses of foreign operators

30 May 2007 – Today the Court of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in Luxemburg once again denied a commercial gambling operator the right to access the gambling markets of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA). Today’s ruling follows a judgment by the same court in March 2007, equally on a Norwegian case, in which the court explicitly upheld the country’s monopoly system on gaming machines.

The EFTA Court ruled that where the State holds a monopoly to offer gambling services, “national authorities have the right to ban the provision and marketing of games of chance from abroad, no matter whether or not these are lawful in their State of origin” (paragraph 5 of the judgment).

Dr Winfried Wortmann, President of the European State Lotteries and Toto Association (European Lotteries, EL) welcomed the Court’s decision: “Whatever the claims of commercial operators in the pages of the press have been over the past months and years. The EFTA Court has made clear once again that gambling services providers need a license from the State in which they want to offer their services and advertise. European law does not require the mutual recognition of operating licenses.

Dr Winfried Wortmann, re-elected last week to be President of European Lotteries for another two-year term, added: “This is the third defeat for the supporters of a commercialisaton of gambling before a European court this year. In March both the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the EFTA Court reiterated their standing jurisprudence, according to which Member States are free to define their gambling policy objectives and to determine in detail the level of protection for their citizens, as long as they pursue public interest objectives, such as preventing problem gambling and fighting crime, in a systematic and consistent manner. This includes the option to give an exclusive right (monopoly) to a single state-owned operator, as explicitly recognised by the EFTA Court in its judgment of 14 March 2007.

Norsk Tipping pleased with EFTA Court statement in Ladbrokes case

press rlease of Norsk Tipping of 1 June 2007:

Norsk Tipping AS is pleased with the statement in the EFTA-Court Wednesday where the court confirmed that the principle of a state monopoly for gaming and gambling is not in conflict with EEA-law

In a statement made to the Oslo City Court Wednesday, the EFTA Court confirmed that the main principles of Norwegian gaming and gambling policy are not in conflict with EEA (European Economic Area) law. The EFTA Court’s statement was made at the request of the Oslo City Court in connection with the international gambling company, Ladbrokes legal proceedings against the Norwegian Government.

“The conclusions are very positive for Norsk Tipping and we also believe that Norsk Tipping fulfils the requirements laid down by the court to justify the monopoly”, comments Reidar Nordby Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Norsk Tipping AS.

The Norwegian Attorney General, Dr. Fredrik Sejersted, was also very pleased with the EFTA Court ruling, and stated that it confirms the consistency and legitimacy of the Norwegian gaming legislation.

However, as Ladbrokes claims that Norwegian legislation of gaming and gambling is in conflict with the EEA-Agreement, the case will continue in the Oslo City Court, but the advice from the EFTA Court give important signals to the future proceedings. The Court has not yet fixed the date for these proceedings.

For more information, please contact: Peer J. Svenkerud, Vice-President Information and External Relations, Ph: +47 91554368

02 June 2007

Casinos Austria International reports strong results for 2006

Gains recorded in all key figures, including a 12.1 % increase in international casino revenues and a 10.2 % rise in consolidated group revenues.

Vienna, 1 June 2007 - At a Casinos Austria Group Press Conference held in Grand Casino Luzern, the Vienna-based casino consulting, development and management company Casinos Austria International today announced strong results for the year ended 31.12.2006. Revenues (win, registered tips, entrance) at its 63 international casino operations rose by 12.1 % year-on-year to a record EUR 990 million (2005: EUR 883 million), with guest numbers for the period growing by 2.5 % to 16.6 million (2005: 16.2 million).

Casinos Austria International was delighted to report yet another year of strong growth, with the double digit increases offering further proof of the performance and growth potential of its operations worldwide. The increased productivity and profitability reflects the intensified efforts in the individual casinos as well as the corporate focus on strong growth areas and locations.

Highlights for the 2007 business year at Casinos Austria International included the Gala Opening of Grand Casino Brussels in the Belgian capital in January, the award of the license for the new casino in the central Chilean city of Los Angeles in July, the announcement of two further casinos in South Africa in November and the acquisition of a majority shareholding in its long-term partner in Argentina, ENJASA, in December.

All in all, Casinos Austria International can look back on a very successful year. In addition to the successful measures to increase productivity and profitability, important steps were also taken in a number of markets to ensure continued future growth. Given the strong potential in its existing operations and strategic growth opportunities established through its new projects in Brussels, Belgrade, South Africa and South America, the company is very optimistic about the future.

Group Results

In the same period, aggregate total revenues for the Casinos Austria Group (Casinos Austria AG, Casinos Austria International, Austrian Lotteries, CAST, win2day.at, tipp3 and WINWIN) increased by 10.2 % to a record EUR 3.35 billion (2005: EUR 3.04 billion), boosted by strong growth in its international casino and domestic lottery, internet gaming, sports betting and video lottery activities.

Revenues (win, registered tips, entrance) from the Group's casino sector activities (i.e. the 63 Casinos Austria International operations and the 12 casinos in Austria operated by the parent company Casinos Austria AG) increased by 7.6 % from EUR 1.17 billion in 2005 to a record EUR 1.26 billion in 2006. Together these 75 casinos in 18 countries and on board 10 cruise ships welcomed some 19 million visitors, a rise of 2.7 % year-on-year, and employed a total of 10,545 staff.

Outlook 2007

2007 has already begun on a positive note with continued growth in Casinos Austria International's existing operations and new developments in a number of key markets, including further acquisition projects in Europe, Asia and South America. Preparations are currently in full swing for the launch of phase one of Casino Beograd in the Serbian capital at the end of June, while work is also well underway in Chile for the opening of Casino Los Angeles in 2008. The concession agreements with Discovery Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises were extended in the first quarter, while Silversea Cruises announced it would be adding another ship to the Casinos Austria International fleet in the second quarter.

For further information please contact:

Hermann Pamminger
Head of Corporate Relations and Customer Care
Casinos Austria International
Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 14
A-1015 Vienna
Tel. +43 1 53440 527
E-mail: hermann.pamminger@casinos.at

Board changes at Casinos Austria AG

Dr. Leo Wallner joins Supervisory Board, Dr. Karl Stoss takes over as Director General from 25 May 2007.

Vienna, 25 May 2007 - At the Annual General Meeting of Casinos Austria AG held today in Vienna, it was confirmed that Director General Dr. Leo Wallner has taken up his new role as Vice President of the Supervisory Board.

He is succeeded as Director General of Casinos Austria AG by Dr. Karl Stoss, Member of the Board of Directors since 1 January 2007 and Director General of Austrian Lotteries since 8 May 2007. Both changes are with immediate effect. President of the Supervisory Board is Dr. Walter Rothensteiner.

Leo Wallner has headed Casinos Austria since 15 February 1968, turning the company from a local casino operator into a highly respected and successful international gaming group.

Casinos Austria AG and its international subsidiary, Casinos Austria International, currently operate 71 top-class casinos in 18 countries and on board some of the world's most luxurious cruise ships. In 2006, In 2006, the two companies together posted revenues (wins, registered tips, entrance) of 1.26 billion euro (+7.6 %), welcomed some 19 million guests (+2.7 %) and employed around 10,545 staff.

With the founding of Austrian Lotteries, the launch of internet gaming, the introduction of Video Lottery Terminals outlets in Austria and a far-reaching international expansion strategy, Leo Wallner has given Casinos Austria an unrivalled mix of gaming services and laid the foundations for the future success of the Group.

For further information, please contact:
Hermann Pamminger
Head of Corporate Relations & Customer Care
Tel. +43 1 534 40 527