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Friday, February 26, 2010
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OUT-LAW.COM reports that the EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding is planning to introduce a European Contract Law to govern cross-border distance selling.
According to Ms. Reding, such laws “would exist in parallel to the national contract laws and provide standard terms and conditions”. Also, she added “another possibility is to harmonise different contract laws that would give a high level of consumer protection"[…]"what's important is legal certainty. Businesses must know what the law is if they operate across the 27-nation EU".
Big steps in the harmonisation of laws applicable in cross-border transactions have been already performed by the European Union during the last years. Taking as an example online contracts, which are a typical cross-border transaction, consumers will be able to rely on the minimum guarantees prescribed by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive, the Distance Selling Directive, the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees Directive, the E-Commerce Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.
These EU Directives ensure to European consumers that if – for instance - they buy some goods on a website run by a company based in another EU Member State they can be sure to be entitled to cancel the agreement without any penalty and without giving any reason during the so called cooling off period, they will be able to rely on a two years guarantee and they can be sure that unfair clauses will not be enforceable against them.
Despite the level of harmonization currently reached within the EU, there are still discrepancies in the implementation of the EU Directives and especially between the UK, which is a common law country, and the rest of the EU countries that has adopted a civil law system.
I would like to know your view on the above. Just post a comment on this blog or drop an email to me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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While EGR reports that the new EU’s internal market Commissioner, Michel Barnier, offered an hope for operators facing a battle against European gaming monopolies, the EU Advocate generals have issued two decisions that do not meet operators’ expectations of a big change in the EU approach towards the gaming sector.
The opinions related:
  • to the Swedish prohibition on promoting Internet gaming offered by operators that do not hold a Swedish gaming license: according to the Advocate General - who also mentioned the Bwin v Santa Casa case - such prohibitions were justified by the objective of fighting against fraud and criminality; and
  • to the Austrian legislation which reserves the operation of games of chance in gaming establishments exclusively to limited companies which have their seat in Austrian territory: the Adocate General in this circumstance held that such limitation is incompatible with freedom of establishment. To be honest, this opinion is not surprising and the new Italian licensing regime will comply with this view allowing licensees to be established in any EU Member State, as the same limitations prescribed by the Austrian model had been criticized several times before courts.
Will the approach taken recently by the European Court of Justice in Bwin v Santa Casa be confirmed by the final decisions on these disputes? Shall gaming operators be obliged to obtain a license in each country where they intend to offer their games? Or the election of the new Commissioner Barnier will really introduce a new approach from the European Commission.
If you want to the discuss the above, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010
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Online bingo was launched in Italy at the end of December 2009, attracting a considerable number of players who were finally able to play their favourite Christmas game, the "Tombola", through their computers.
However, according to the administrative court of the Lazio region, online bingo operators have to take a break… The approval of the decrees regulating online bingo have been found not compliant with the formalities required by Italian law, the court has ruled.
To be honest, however, bingo games in Italy had already been having a hard time. Indeed, the administrative court of Lazio region had identified the same procedural defects back in October 2009 in relation to the decrees introducing the so called ‘interconnected offline bingo,’ i.e. the procedure allowing the interconnection of different bingo halls.
As a consequence of the first of the two decisions mentioned, the offer of online bingo is likely to be interrupted until (or ‘if’) either the Court of Appeal overturns the decision of the administrative court, or the Italian Gaming Authority decides to re-issue the same decrees obtaining the required approvals and reviews.
Such bad news might represent an advantage for new entrants in the Italian bingo market.
If current bingo operators have to interrupt the offer of online bingo until at least April 2010, new operators will have the time to set up their business in Italy to be ready for online bingo’s second launch.
Sometimes there is good news in bad...
If you want to the discuss about the potential developments of online bingo in Italy, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010
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During the last weeks I have been questioned by some gaming operators willing to enter into the Italian online gaming market on the possibilities of acquiring from Italian licensed operators either their gaming license or the entire company.
The transfer of an Italian license is subject to the approval of the Italian gaming authority which will only check whether the buyer fulfills the requirements necessary to hold a license, while the transfer of the ownership of the entire company holding the gaming license requires a mere notification to the Italian gaming authority.
The acquisition of a license or a licensed operator will ensure not only that the operator enters into the market already holding a well known trademark and some players, but also that he:
  • will be able to be immediately active in a market that does not have yet consolidated leaders and that in some cases (online casino, cash games and bingo) does not exist at all; and
  • will avoid the risk of missing the football world cup because of potential bureacratic delays.   
Do you need assistance in purchasing or selling an Italian gaming license or a gaming operator, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010
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The decree setting out the technical and functional requirements of the videolottery machines has been finally published on the Official Gazette.
As anticipated in the previous posts, videolotteries are expected to be the biggest innovation in the Italian gaming market in 2010. Indeed, the maximum wins of € 500,000 are likely to attract considerable players to the VLT casinos which has caused substantial complaints from 4 Italian “real” casinos and from the foreign casinos located close to Italian borders also because during the start-up phase the current licensees will be entitled in fact to install 56,697 videolotteries without any restriction on the location where VLT casinos will be located.
This is a brand new market for gaming operators, including new entrants in the market that during the start up phase might run VLT casinos using the machines provided by other licensees and from November 1, 2010 will be able manage them under their own license since by the end of April 2010 the procedure for the assignment of new licenses will start
If you want to know more information about videolottery and the possibilities for new operators in this market, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010
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The European Commission has adopted a new set of standard contractual clauses for transfers of personal data from data controllers in the European Union to data processors located outside the European Union.
Under European data protection laws, transfer of personal data to a third country that does not ensure (according to the European Commission) an adequate level of protection to the personal data (which for instance include the United States) cannot take place unless one of the exemptions prescribed by the Directice 95/46/EC applies. One of these exemptions is the implementation by the data controller of adequate safaguard to the processing of personal data through contractual clauses. Indeed, if the transfer of data outside the EU is regulated through the abovementioned standard contractual clause, the data exporter does not need for instance to require the consent from the individual/company whose data are transferred to transfer
The main peculiarity of this new set of contractual clauses which amend those issued in 2001 is that for the first time data processors located outside the EU can in turn outsource the processing activity to other data processors. This is a relevant circumstance for companies that for instance instruct IT services providers to store the huge amount of data collected because under the old regime the appointed data processor could not instruct any third party to process the collected data. 
If you want to discuss on the possibility for your company to implement the new set of standard contractual clauses, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio 
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
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EGaming Review reports that, because of the upcoming liberalization of the French gaming market, FDJ has entered into an agreement with TF1, the largest French commercial Tv channel, under which FDJ will sponsor some TV shows on TF1 and will provide a dedicated gaming space on Tf1.fr.
This deal made me think that such kind of agreements between gaming operators and companies active in other sectors have not been so common in Italy so far. This might sound unusual since Italy is for instance the country with the highest number of mobile phones per person and also the full transition to digital tv that will be completed by the end of this year. Such circumstance should encourage this kind of deals and the spreading of the use by gaming operators of channels alternative to websites.
Likewise, agreements with owners of famous trademarks - as recently occurred with the agreement between Endemol and Garmenet on the Big Brother gaming website - might be a good opportunity especially for new entrants whose brand is not well known to Italians. Italy is famous for its marks in the fashion sector for instance and these marks could be exploited by gaming operators. 
I would like to know your opinion on the above; just add your comment to this post or send an email to me, Giulio Coraggio.
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