Cherry sues Norway; Norsk Tipping no Postcode clone; Mr. Green wins again

cherry-norway-norsk-tipping-mr-greenSwedish online gaming operator Cherry AB is suing Norway’s government to overturn an injunction filed against the company in April 2011. The target of Norway’s ire was Cherry subsidiary EuroLotto, which Norway claimed was illegally offering services to Norwegian punters. With talks having failed to lift the injunction, Cherry has now taken Norway to court, claiming the state’s true aim is not protecting punters but ensuring the continued financial health of monopoly operator Norsk Tipping. Cherry CEO Emil Sunvisson issued a statement this week saying he understood “the Norwegian monopoly fears the competition” but the Norwegian government was “unjustly” attempting “to hinder Norwegian players from choosing private operators that offer the same services offered by the state through Norsk Tipping.”

Cherry’s suit charges that Norway’s injunction has no basis in law and ran contrary to European free trade principles. Cherry also says the injunction was technically flawed, in that it was directed at Cherry AB in Sweden, rather than Malta, where its EuroLotto subsidiary is registered. Cherry maintains the lifting of the injunction is urgent because (a) it believes it is the reason Cherry’s applications for Norwegian gaming licenses have been rejected, and (b) it cannot have this black mark on its record as it attempts to expand its business into other European jurisdictions.

In other Norwegian court action, Norsk Tipping and online gaming solutions provider Genera Networks have been found innocent of allegations that they’d copied Nova Media’s Postcode Lottery product. Nova had claimed that Genera’s Nabor product – known in Norway as Nabolaget – infringed on its Postcode geoposition-based lottery, but a Norwegian court determined that the products were “so different that [Nabor] cannot at all be seen as an imitation of an original product,” and thus no breach of the Norwegian Marketing Act had occurred.

Swedish operator Mr. Green, last seen winning Socially Responsible Operator of the Year at the eGaming Review Friends & Advertisers Awards, has been named the best online casino website by Swedish magazine InternetWorld. It’s the fifth consecutive year Mr. Green has claimed the honor, which suggests – with all due to respect to the Greenies – that InternetWorld’s voters are in something of a rut.