Italy Grants Online Casinos LicensesPublished January 4, 2007 by OCR Editor
Two leading British online casino companies were among several other bookmakers to be awarded licenses for their operations involving horse racing and sports betting in Italy.
In addition to the official operation licenses they received, the companies also received new licenses for running centers across the country, in cafes, bars and run by newsagents, which feature and host horseracing and sports betting centers.
A statement by one of the two companies included the following passage: "Strategy is to establish an Italian retail estate through both new licenses awarded in the tender process and the acquisition of existing centers." One of the groups added in its statement that it would continue to buy new licenses in Italy. This European country is becoming a new frontier for many Internet gambling companies around the world as they search for a new market to replace that of the United States. Since the UIGEA, or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, many companies are closing their doors to American gamblers and moving their services to other nations. Sometimes, as this case shows, with success.
The licenses owned by one group include 33 operating licenses for horse racing, 58 for sports betting as well as betting centers and 51 for franchises. Meanwhile, one of Austria's leading groups claimed that it had not required licenses in this tender as it already owned a license for sports betting in Italy and was not looking for licenses for betting centers. However, the firm did confirm that it would be interested in winning an Italian license for gambling and poker.
So do they fare well in the beginning of the new year, as the doors close in the United States and new markets must be explored and developed? The Italian example seems to show this is the case. Other examples also exist, such as the Russian President signing into law a ban on online casinos. Yet the eyes of the industry and of millions of gamblers around the world are looking up and East, as new markets are entered.