Italy have been told by the European Court of Justice that their recent blocking of Italian sports-betting company Stanley Bet was wrong, according to a ruling reported in recent Italy gambling news.
According to the reports, Stanley Bet, which fulfills all the requirements of the Italian gambling laws back in their own country, had attempted to set up a business in Italy for Italian gamers, in a bid to capture some of the EUR 76.1 billion a year that Italy takes from its third biggest industry.
The move was blocked in Italy, though a rule that sets minimum distances between gambling outlets may not be justified after the European Court of Justice deemed it, and Italy’s system of rewarding and rescinding licenses for online gaming, unclear.
The chief executive officer for the Liverpool based company Stanley Bet, one of the top online gambling sites in Italy had the following to say about the decision by the European Court of Justice: “This confirms once again that Stanleybet was discriminated against by the Italian Republic, must surely put an end to the unlawful distortions, the discrimination and the unjust limitations of the Italian licensing system.”
This event is certainly not the first time the European Court of Justice has found itself embroiled in illegal gambling matters. Online sportsbooks in Italy, such as Betfair, Bwin and Ladbrokes have all found themselves questioning whether or not is is legal for state-run monopolies like the case in Italy, to block the companies based abroad from setting up shop in their nation. Specifically when the 27 member EU states all have a law implemented which allows freedom of operations.
Though the decision by the ECJ specifically states that Italy’s decision procedure for the granting and withdrawing licenses wasn’t clear enough for their liking, it also paid special attention to the fact that Italy does not have the authority to simply block companies from bidding for a gambling license.
The court also rather confusingly stated however, that the decision should ultimately be made the Italian courts, and not the Luxembourg based tribunal.
Despite Italy’s decision to block Stanley Bet from bidding for a gambling license, Ladbrokes were successful in obtaining one, after Italy had originally promoted calls for more foreign based competition, over six years ago. The future of Stanley Bet’s bid for a license following the tribunal, is as of yet, undecided.