Serbia’s Association of Gambling Providers (AGP) are protesting a deal made between the state’s lottery operator, Državna lutrija Srbije, and Sportingbet to offer sports-betting services saying that the agreement violates Serbian law.

Local gaming operators have attacked the State Lottery of Serbia with harsh wording for creating a strategic partnership with a foreign company in order to host sports-betting services to Serbians. Sportingbet PLC is based in the UK.

“Existing laws are grossly violated, and local companies unfairly pushed aside,” said AGP in a statement. “[The state lottery] has chosen a foreign partner, company of questionable reputation, in a completely non-transparent way without publicly open competition, thus making it impossible for local companies to participate.”

Fueling the AGP’s anger at this partnership is a previous deal made between Državna lutrija Srbije and online gaming software provider Playtech for use of their online poker and casino products.

Državna lutrija Srbije’s website lists Sportingbet.rs as a new site on its homepage. After clicking the Sportingbet logo, visitors are taken to the Sportingbet.rs homepage. The URL of the landing page contains the phrasing “affiliate=dlsrs” which would suggest the partnership between Sportingbet and Državna lutrija Srbije is effectively a standard iGaming affiliate deal.

The AGP is calling on Serbian officials to halt the new partnership saying, “AGP expects that competent authorities will urgently stop the illegal business on the Internet, that the new government will review all contested actions and through consistent respect for the law ensure equal treatment of all participants of the market.”

AGP once again called into question the integrity of Sportingbet by continuing to say, “Also, we hope that Serbian citizens will be protected from the influence of foreign firms and a variety of interest groups with questionable reputation, and that equity will be protected because it is a basic condition for economic prosperity of every country. Otherwise, there will be a complete breakdown of the domestic market which will only benefit certain interest groups at the expense of all citizens of Serbia.”

A press conference was held yesterday by AGP to discuss this matter. In attendance included members of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce as well as personnel from member companies.

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