European Union Rules That Italy Can't Block Online Gambling
According to Malta Today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on Monday that it is against the law for EU member states to restrict national gambling markets in order to favor the economic of incumbents over operators licensed in other member states. The preliminary ruling came in the case of Biasci et al against Italy, and it confirms the EU's principles of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services in terms of cross-border gambling.
The following is from the case:
"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.
Articles 43 EC and 49 EC must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which requires companies wishing to pursue activities linked to gaming and betting to obtain a police authorization in addition to a license issued by the State in order to pursue such activities and which restricts the grant of such authorization inter alia to applicants who already hold such a license."
In addition, the CJEU emphasized that no sanctions may be applied on the basis of provisions which are contrary to EU law.
In 2006, Italy blocked roughly 684 gaming sites registered in Malta from Italian Internet. The government then blocked all foreign gaming sites from the UK to Malta, claiming they were protecting Italian gamers from fraud. Critics disagree, claiming that the country was simply protecting its €2 billion gambling monopoly.
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