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Southern Cyprus – Betfair calls for Cyprus to play fair

By - 12 September 2012

Betfair has now lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission in relation to the recently approved Cypriot gambling legislation, that could lead to betting exchanges being prevented from operating in their current format in Cyprus.

The new law was adopted by the Cypriot Parliament on 6 July 2012 and also prohibits cash betting transactions by betting operators.

Betfair’s formal complaint to the European Commission states 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.

The Cypriot authorities have sought to justify the restriction based on unfounded and misinformed concerns relating to a supposed increased risk of money laundering as well as match-fixing. They have been unable to produce any evidence of increased risk of money laundering through exchanges, as required by EU law, to substantiate these claims.

To date, Betfair remains the only sports betting operator which has actively engaged on the issue of match fixing with a far reaching memorandum of understanding for exchange of information with the Cyprus Football Association in suspected cases.

Betfair will continue to attempt to operate in Cyprus while the complaint is heard by the Commission.

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.”

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