EU Court Tells Italy it Cannot Block Online Poker

EU Court of Justice Rules that Italy Cannot Block Online Gambling Sites if they Hold a License in Another EU State

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In another piece of gambling news to come out of Italy in recent times, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that Italy cannot legally block gambling websites that originate outside the country. The move comes after the Italian government approved a bill that could ban all forms of online casinos in the country for 12 months.

Italy has also held a blacklist of banned websites for a number of years, much like fellow EU countries such as Greece and Belgium. The list bans operators who the government deems illegal, but the list has been a bone of contention in the EU for a number of years. With the current confusion in Italian gambling laws, the CJEU has stepped in to clarify this point and force action.

The ruling states that member countries cannot restrict national gambling markets so as to favor national economic interests, and that operators who hold gambling licenses in other member countries should be free to operate throughout the union.

This clarification from the CJEU could also cast into doubt recent legal changes in the UK, that require all online and mobile casinos to hold a license in the country, as well as every platform provider. The change would hit companies who provide the backend of gambling sites hard, but this ruling seems to go against the possible changes.

The statement from the court read: “Articles 43 EC and 49 EC must be interpreted as meaning that, under the current state of EU law, the fact that an operator holds, in the Member State in which it is established, an authorization permitting it to offer betting and gaming does not prevent another Member State, while complying with the requirements of EU law, from making such a provider offering such services to consumers in its territory subject to the holding of an authorization issued by its own authorities.”

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