Belgium’s Loterie Nationale fined €1.19m for anti-competitive behaviour

Belgium’s Competition Authority has fined the Loterie Nationale, the country’s lottery monopoly operator, €1.19m for abusing its dominant market position when it launched its sports betting product Scooore! in 2013.

The lottery group was found guilty of using players’ contact details that it held within the framework of its lottery monopoly and emailing those players in January 2013 to announce the launch of Scooore!.

The Authority’s auditors found that the lottery had not acquired those details in a fair competitive context but as part of its monopoly, something its competitors would not have been able to do within a reasonable timeframe and in suitable financial conditions.

The Loterie Nationale also asked some of its retail outlets to supply sensitive information about its competitors’ activities when it came to sports betting, which it received in 2011 and 2013, “thus reducing the uncertainty with regards to the behaviour of its competitors”, according to the Authority’s statement.

The betting and gaming groups Stanleybet, PMU and Sagevas and the advertising body WFA registered their complaint against the Loterie Nationale in May 2013.

Main grievances included the use of contact details obtained in a monopoly environment, using the lottery’s image to promote Scooore!, and exclusivity and non-compete clauses between the lottery and Belgian newsagents.  

The lottery group admitted taking part in the behaviour and accepted its penalty, which led to a 10% reduction in the amount it was fined.

The Authority said the amount of the fine was calculated based on the fact that the impact of the Loterie’s action was not anti-competitive and it cooperated fully with the investigation.

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