On Wednesday, the Competition Tribunal South Africa heard an interim remedy request from the gambling group Lottoland SA. Lottoland SA is requesting an order requiring Google Ireland and Google South Africa to grant them access to the tech giant’s advertising service platform.
Lottoland, a licensed bookmaker that operates in the South African gambling industry, alleges that Google terminated its access to Google’s scarce advertising services without any legitimate justification.Competition Tribunal South Africa
The company has filed “an abuse of dominance” complaint with the Competition Commission, asking for at least six months of temporary relief or until the commission rules on its claim.
Lottoland offers fixed-odds betting, or in the case of lotteries, a bet on the probability that the numbers you chose will be drawn. The landing page, or single marketing page, for Lottoland, according to Google, breached both corporate rules and possibly the law.
On Wednesday, discussions focused on the “theory of harm” associated with anti-competitive behavior. Michelle le Roux, SC, for Google, made the case that the tech company had no financial incentive to exclude Lottoland and had even expressed regret about not being able to continue doing business with that client. She further argued that any instances of the group’s regulations being implemented slowly should be seen as unfair treatment of Lottoland given that the tech company had “millions” of cases to resolve.
We are trying to comply with local acts and laws, if in our compliance with the Commission’s or Tribunal’s decision we are found to be breaking aspects of the National Lotteries Act or the Mpumalanga Gambling Board policies, it will harm the reputation of Google. Lottoland’s case is not about entry or participation in the market, it is about expansion in the market. They are making revenue from the more than 3000 clients gained since they accessed the platform, but they want to gain more. They are not being prejudiced
However, Paul Farlam, SC, for Lottoland stated that Google engaged in anti-competitive behavior and that the application had only been released after the company learned of past instances in which it had permitted the advertising of competitors.
The case has been adjourned and the parties are now awaiting the decision.
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