November 01, 2007

Unibet chief released on bail by French

Unibet chief executive Petter Nylander was released by the French authorities yesterday evening following his hearing in Nanterre just outside Paris. Nylander was transferred from Holland to France during the course of the day and set free on bail of €200,000 following the hearing.

In a statement, Nylander said: “The fact that there are numerous legal proceedings ongoing against responsible operators such as Unibet doesn't make sense at a time when the French government has publicly referred to the opening of its online gaming market. Such proceedings serve only one purpose - the commercial interests of France's two State-owned monopolies.”

Nylander said Unibet had always abided by the law and acted in a transparent way and pointed to the “urgent need for reform of this market where these monopoly operators' actions are in complete disregard of EU Treaties and the interests of French players”.

He added: “It is Unibet's strong belief that the French consumer should have a choice regarding online betting and gaming, with specific regulation. France has everything to gain from the controlled opening of its market, and La Fran├žaise des Jeux, the PMU and French casino operators alike have an opportunity to be co-leaders together with private operators in the European online gaming market.”

Nylander was detained by the Dutch authorities at Schipol airport last week under a French arrest warrant and held for two nights. He has spent the rest of his time in a hotel in Amsterdam. Yesterday, Unibet released interim figures that showed third quarter pre-tax profits sliding year-on-year to £6.9m from £7.5m the year previously.