European Court Questions Italy Gambling Laws

Published February 20, 2012 by OCR Editor

European Court Questions Italy Gambling Laws

EU Court of Justice issues preliminary ruling on European access to Italian licenses.

Italy's new online gambling regulations have come under challenge, after the European Court of Justice called into question whether it complies with EU Laws prohibiting member states from restricting foreign operators from obtaining licenses.

CJEU Preliminary Ruling

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) this week issued its preliminary ruling in the joint Costa and Cifone cases, in which it confirmed that Italy must not discriminate against new operators under the aegis of consumer protection or fraud prevention.

The court ruled that the fact that existing Italian operators have been able to start up several years earlier than the operators which were excluded, "confers on them an unfair competitive advantage" which also breaches EU laws.

It pointed out that the actual aim of the Italian legislation is to protect existing operators and to increase tax revenues. It said such objectives cannot serve to justify violations of EU law. It said the ruling was in line with a series of other recent court rulings which focus on the lack of consistency between claimed objectives of member states and the actual legislation.

What Does This Mean?

This ruling could provide a setback for Italy, which began issuing licenses to foreign operators such as William Hill in the middle of last year, and was being touted as the next big thing in European gambling this year along with Spain and Denmark.

Of course, European Union laws ensure free competition and at the end of the day are designed to protect consumers. So if Italy is forced to reform its own gambling reforms, this might mean some delays in the launch of certain online gaming sites, but in the end the consumer will win.

for more on the Italian gambling market, and reviews of all licensed operators in Italy, visit Online Casino reports Italy.

See also

Italy the Clear Online Gambling Frontrunner

UNLV to Offer Master in Gambling Law and Regulation

New Internet Gambling Laws are Put into Action

Evolution Rolls Out Mobile Live Casino for Eurobet Italy

Huge Online Gambling Bust in Italy Linked to Mafia

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