EU to probe Ladbrokes’ virtual betting in Belgium

The EU has launched a probe following complaints from two operators.
The EU has launched a probe following complaints from two operators.

Antitrust agencies will investigate whether Ladbrokes benefits from unfair state subsidies.

Belgium.- The European Union (EU) will probe Ladbrokes’ virtual betting concession in Belgium following complaints from two other gaming operators.

Antitrust agencies will decide whether Ladbrokes, the market leader in the country, holds an exclusive right to operate services, thus constituting an unfair state subsidy.

Ladbrokes was granted the rights to operate in-store digital betting kiosks in Belgium from 2014 and online from 2015. 

The EU says that the complaints it received came from two gaming companies that were denied the same right in 2015 and 1016.

The EU said in a statement: “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 favour of the Belgian state by Ladbrokes in return.

“The commission has doubts that it complies with EU state aid rules.”

In Belgium, Ladbrokes is run by GVC Holdings subsidiary Derby SA. It has around 300 betting agencies in the country.

The regulator added that other operators were denied the right to operate virtual betting kiosks in 2015 and 2016.

GVC Holdings last month published first-half results showing an 11.2 per cent drop in revenue.

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Belgium legal regulation