Online gambling giant Bwin.party has suffered a serious legal setback in Portugal, as it has been ordered to stop all sports sponsorship activities and cease advertising in the country.
The decision is likely to cost Bwin a lot of money as the company is heavily tied into the sports scene in Portugal. Bwin has invested a considerable sum of money in the European country to further its marketing strategy.
Bwin currently is a sponsor of the Taca da Liga competition, which costs the company around €4 million annually. Bwin's current sponsorship agreement with the Portuguese Football League (LPFP) is also in jeopardy, as the company has agreed to pull any Bwin advertising immediately. A statement by the LPFP read: “As of Monday, the Portuguese professional football league is obliged to remove all advertising that refers to Bwin.”
Portuguese national lottery operator Santa Casa and the Portuguese Casino Association are both opposed to Bwin's presence in Portugal. The two organizations claim that Bwin has an advantage in the coastal country, as it does not have to comply with Portuguese gambling laws.
For its part, Bwin claims that the court is running in conflict with European Union Law. A company spokesperson said "One cannot aggressively advertise and expand games on the one hand and keep foreign competition out on the other hand.”
Eduardo Serra Jorge, a Bwin legal representative said, “It is time for the state to legislate and tax online gambling instead of banning it. Regulating it is in the interest of the consumer, the economy and the state budget.”
Bwin and the LPFP are both appealing the court's decision.