A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice on Premier League television rights could benefit the gambling industry. Today’s ruling, which went against the world’s most lucrative football league, means that more people have access to coverage of more games therefore, more people would be likely to place bets.
The case dates back to around this time last year when the Premier League brought legal action against a pub landlady in Portsmouth that was using a Greek decoder to show live Premier League action. Proprietor Karen Murphy took the case to the ECJ who ruled that transmission in a pub is a “communication to the public,” meaning that she was beaten by a far post header in stoppage time. With that, the Premier League thought the trophy was in the bag and they could trot off smiling into the sunset. The ECJ wasn’t finished though.
Broadcasting it to the public using a dodgy Greek decoder card might not be allowed. Using the same technology to watch live games in your own home is absolutely bloody fine though. The ECJ ruled attempting to prohibit the “import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services and cannot be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums”.
With the influx of mobile gambling industry sites that allow you to bet whilst absolutely anywhere, many firms may now see the ruling sending them a lot more customers than they had before. The fact that Saturday 3pm games are now available to a wider audience in the UK means in-play customers could very well increase for firms offering mobile gaming products.
ECJ’s ruling could also be a blow to Rupert Murdoch’s monopoly over Premier League broadcasting rights. The shares were down at the Grand Old House of sleaze that Rupey has built and it’s thought that the Premier League broadcast rights regime goes against the EU law of one internal market. The situation will have no bearing on the Premier League’s fast growing operations in Asia. It’s not to say that the changes to their bread-and-butter of the UK and Europe won’t be worrying.