"The best casino in France is now online!" The announcement, which promises 200 euros free for any new player, seems enticing when you see it on social networks. Especially since it is topped with a guarantee of reliability: the Barrière brand would be at the head of this online betting platform. As proof: the "sponsored" post is associated with a photo of the casino in the border town of Blotzheim (Haut-Rhin).
Except that the French group, a flagship of the hotel and gaming industry, has nothing to do with these sites, sometimes illegal, that fraudulently use its image and brand. The group has announced that it will file a complaint with the Paris prosecutor's office against the owners of these online gaming platforms as well as those who broadcast these ads, it has been learned.
Publications that "devalue the group's image"
The complaint, which we have seen, relates to at least four social media posts, dating back to September 16. All of them use the brand's attributes to promote their online gaming application: the four-pointed star of the "B Barrière" logo, photos of the establishments, the name Barrière, the white and gold graphic charter of the group. According to the complaint, these actions violate the intellectual property code, "devalue the image of the group" and "lead to illegal gambling activities". The image of the establishments of Blotzheim, Enghien-les-Bains (Val-d'Oise) or Cap d'Agde (Hérault) was thus used.
"While these ephemeral advertisements have all been removed, the websites and mobile applications to which they referred are still accessible online and have been observed by a bailiff," Mathias Chichportich and Clara Gérard-Rodriguez, the lawyers for the family group, said in their complaint.
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The Barrière Group hopes that "the perpetrators of these acts, i.e. not only the owners of online games operating without approval and using the image of the Barrière Group for their advertising, but also the platforms broadcasting such advertisements and thus enriching themselves at the same time, be identified and held accountable."
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In a statement, Grégory Rabuel, chief executive of Barrière, said these illegal sites "constitute a real danger for players, illegal competition for legal French gambling operators, major damage to public finances and a real risk of money laundering and financing of illicit activities."
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In its complaint, Barrière recalls that sports betting and online poker are authorized for "operators" who have an approval from the National Gaming Authority (ANJ) and that games requiring the commitment of a sum of money are prohibited.
For the fraudulent use of the attributes of the Barrière group, offenders risk up to 3 years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros. As for the promotion of illegal gambling, it is punishable by 3 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to 100,000 euros.