March 27, 2012 / 1:22 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Sportingbet to appeal Spanish injunction

* Says injunction effective March 27

* Expects licence from Spanish gaming regulator by May 25

March 27 (Reuters) - British online gaming firm Sportingbet Plc said it would appeal an injunction against it sought by Spanish casino group Codere, aimed at restricting online betting and gaming in that country.

In December, the Spanish company had sought several injunctions against companies operating in the online betting and gaming industry citing unfair competition before licences under new laws were about to be issued.

“Sportingbet firmly believes that Codere’s injunction application was based on erroneous information presented to the court and is a blatant attempt to disrupt the market in the run up to the issue of licences,” the company said in a statement.

“Codere has an axe to grind about supposed unfair competition, which is blatantly wrong and misleading,” Sportingbet spokesman George Hudson told Reuters.

Online gaming in Spain was legal but unregulated until new laws came into effect last year.

All of Codere’s requests for injunctions were rejected by various Spanish courts, except the one brought against Sportingbet, where the court sided with Codere despite Sportingbet defending its position at a hearing last month.

The injunction came into effect March 27, Sportingbet said.

Sportingbet — which has more than two million customers in 30 markets across Europe, Australia, Canada, South America and South Africa — said it had met with the Spanish gaming regulator and expects to be granted a licence by May 25.

Separately, the company said it made a final payment of $6 million to the U.S. Justice Department, as per a settlement reached in 2010 over alleged illegal Internet gambling, and said that it was exploring opportunities to re-enter the market.

Shares of the company, which operates in three segments — sports betting, casino gaming and poker — were down 4.5 percent at 37.03 pence at 1317 GMT on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange.

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