Ladbrokes being investigated by EU over Belgium operations

By Violeta Prockyte

Ladbrokes, owned by GVC Holdings, is being investigated by the authorities of the European Union over a virtual betting concession the company was operating in Belgium.

According to Bloomberg, the investigation is meant to reveal if the company had the exclusive right to operate what can be called “an unfair state subsidy.” Ladbrokes operates several hundred betting agencies in the country.

The inquiry started when two other gaming operators contacted the EU with complaints after Ladbrokes won the right to operate digital betting kiosks in various stores since 2014, and in 2015 the company engaged in online betting as well. Reportedly, other operators were denied those same rights two years in a row: in 2015 and 2016.

The EU stated: “The commission has concerns that the authorisation granted to Ladbrokes may have resulted in the betting company enjoying a de facto exclusive right to operate virtual betting in Belgium since 2014, without any remuneration in favor of the Belgian state by Ladbrokes in return.”

The EU commission has cast doubt as to whether the near-exclusive rights granted to one company comply with “EU state aid rules.”

In August 2018, Labrokes received a 24-hour license suspension in Belgium for 24 hours after breaching virtual betting laws.

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