French Court charges PMU of anti-competitive practices during 2010 separation

The Paris High Court of Appeals has upheld an original verdict against state-owned racing operator Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) with regards to ‘abusing its position of influence by enacting anti-competitive business practices’.

PMU governance had challenged a February 2018 ruling by France’s Commercial Tribunal against the betting firm, which had deemed its horseracing operations between 2010-2015 as restrictive to licensed online competitors.

French online bookmaker Betclic had filed the original appeal against the PMU, stating that the bookmaker had purposely failed to separate its retail and online betting assets from 2010-2015, maintaining a monopolistic position over French horseracing.

In 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republican government would pass France’s online gambling bill ending French state-owned gambling operators PMU and Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) control over sports betting activities.

With regards to horseracing, PMU would be authorised to undertake structural changes to its business operations, in order to develop a fair French online racing marketplace.

In its court filing, Betclic sued the PMU for purposely delaying the separation of its online and retail properties, which took the operator 5-years to deliver on.

Citing that the PMU had created an anti-competitive environment in which to operate its racing markets between 2010-2015, Betclic governance seeks €172 million in compensation from the PMU.

French business news sources report that although the Paris Appeals Court had sided with Betclic, it is unlikely that the online bookmaker will receive its desired compensation sum.

Nevertheless, the High Court’s ruling my see further French online bookmakers initiate legal procedures against the PMU, who in April 2018 announced its new leadership team of Cyril Linette as new Chief Executive, supported by Bertrand Meheut as Group Chairman.

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