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Thursday, April 29, 2010
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As anticipated in a previous post, I have attended the conference “Gioco online: è boom. Tra innovazione e regolamentazione” (Online Gaming: it is a boom. Between innovation and regulation) where the Politecnico di Milano (one of the main Italian Universities) has presented the results of a very detailed study of the Italian online gaming market whose reliability cannot be doubted as it has been drafted in cooperation with the Italian Gaming Authority. 
To give you a glance of the results of such study: according to the Politecnico di Milano the turnover of the Italian online gaming market has been of € 3.7 bn in 2009 and it is expected to double in 2010 following the launch of poker cash games and casino games whose regulations have entered into force at the beginning of April. 2.8 ml of online gaming accounts have performed at least a transaction in 2009 and on average a transaction has been carried out on 835,000 gaming accounts per month and around 200,000 new gaming accounts have been opened monthly. 
The Politecnico di Milano has also compared the Italian gaming market to other digital markets and such comparison showed that the growth rate of the gaming market is higher than the growth rate of the Italian e-commerce, Internet advertising, digital television and mobile digital contents markets also because the Italian gaming market is not a brand new market for Italians, but it derives in part from the illegal  gaming market generated by non-licensed websites. Indeed, the "legal" market set out by the Italian Gaming Authority seems to have attracted a considerable portion of the "illegal" non-licensed gaming market. 
These figures are likely to attract more and more operators that, as a consequence of the upcoming approval of the decree on the new Italian gaming licenses regime, will be able to apply for an Italian gaming license at the beginning of May.
If you want more details on the above, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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Dislike what had arisen from the initial rumors, according to the Italian gaming authority the decree regulating the issue of the new Italian online gaming licenses will be passed at the beginning of May. 
Operators that intend to enter in the largest European online gaming market should start getting ready, developing a business plan and working on their platforms to make them compliant with Italian gaming law requirements that are very stringent. 
As already stressed in a previous post, the peculiarity of the new licensing regime is that it will allow operators to locate their legal seat and equipment in any country of the European Economic Area, or in any other country (e.g. Isle of Man, Alderney etc.) that will enter into bilateral agreements with the Italian Gaming Authority. This means that licensed operators will only be obliged to pay Italian gaming taxes, while they will pay the corporate taxes of the country where they are established as if they do not have infrastructures or personnel in Italy they will not be deemed by Italian tax authorities to have a permanent establishment in Italy.
This will represent a considerable advantage for foreign operators, but obviously only the first comers will be able to take advantage of all the benefits from this market that will be rapidly evolving because of the recent launch of online bingo and the upcoming launch of online poker cash games and casino games that have been regulated at the end of March.   
Do you want know more about the above? Are you interested in understanding the requirements prescribed by Italian gaming law? Contact me, Giulio Coraggio. 
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Sunday, April 18, 2010
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On 21 April 2010, it will take place at the Politecnico of Milan, one of the main Italian Universities, the conference “Gioco online: è boom. Tra innovazione e regolamentazione” (Online Gaming: it is a boom. Between innovation and regulation). The conference will represent one of the main Italian events on online gaming, with speakers from the Italian Gaming Authority and some of the most relevant gaming operators.
Also, it will be an interesting opportunity for new entrants to better understand the Italian gaming market as the Politecnico of Milan will provide during the conference - equipped with simultaneous English translation facilities - the results of a very detailed research on the Italian online gaming.
If you intend to attend the conference, send an email to me, Giulio Coraggio, so that we can meet there to discuss about Italian online gaming.
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Fapav, the Italian Federation Against Audiovideo Piracy, performed through a specialized agency, CoPeerRight Agency, an investigation through which it discovered hundreds of thousands of Telecom Italia (the Italian telephone incumbent) users that had performed 2.5 millions illegal downloads of nine films.  However, unfortunately for Fapav, it had been able to identify only the IP address of such users and therefore requested - before the Court of Rome - Telecom Italia to disclose the details of the users connected to such IP addresses so that their conduct could be challenged before judicial authorities and to block the access by Italian residents to some peer to peer websites.
The Court of Rome held that only judicial authorities can order Telecom Italia to perform such activities. Moreover, on the basis of the hosting providers liability exemption prescribed by the EU E-Commerce Directive, Telecom Italia was found not to be liable for the unlawful conduct performed by its users. The company is only obliged to forward to judicial authorities the challenging letters received by copyright holders.
The lesson deriving from this court decision is that copyright holders and their associations cannot autonomously decide the measures that ISPs have to adopt against piracy, but such activities are reserved to judicial authorities. Interests of copyright holders have to be protected, but such protection has to be managed by the competent authorities.
Do you need more information about the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Friday, April 16, 2010
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The European Court of Justice has issued an interesting decision in the case between Handelsgesellschaft Heinrich Heine GmbH v Verbraucherzentrale. Heinrich Heine, a mail-order company, provides in its general conditions of sale that the consumer is to pay a flat rate charge of € 4.95 for delivery. That sum is not refunded by the supplier even if the consumer exercises his right of withdrawal. 
Indeed, the EU Distance Selling Directive 1997/7 regulating any kind of distance contract (i.e. sales through the Internet, telephone, email etc.) prescribes that:
"consumer shall have a period of at least seven working days [that are 10 working days under Italian law] in which to withdraw from the contract without penalty and without giving any reason. The only charge that may be made to the consumer because of the exercise of his right of withdrawal is the direct cost of returning the goods"  
The Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen, a German consumer association, brought an action against Heinrich Heine for an injunction to restrain it from continuing with that practice, since it considers that, in the event of withdrawal, delivery costs must not be charged to the consumer. 
The European Court of Justice held that the charging of the delivery costs to a consumer exercising the right of withdrawal from the agreement is in contrast with the Distance Selling Directive. Indeed, the rationale behind the Distance Selling Directive is that consumers have to be free in their decision on exercising the right of withdrawal from the agreement and the charging of the delivery cost would in some ways discourage them from taking such decision. 
This court decision is relevant and should be carefully taken into account by e-commerce providers also because the Distance Selling Directive is not subject to the principle of the country of origin of the provider, but binds all providers selling their items to consumers located in the EU countries.
Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio, if you need clarifications on the above.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010
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As a consequence of the upcoming launch of online poker cash games and casino games in Italy, Italian players will finally have the possibility to play games that used to play so far only in the 4 Italian real casinos or in foreign casinos through their computers, in their flats seating on their favourite couch.  As stressed in my previous post, these new games are expected to be considerably successful and to lead to a relevant increase in the turnover of gaming operators. 
Indeed, the decree regulating online poker cash games and casino games will allow Italian licensed operators not only to offer all the card games (including blackjack), under the functionalities single player and multi players, but for the first time also slot-machines, roulette games, dice games and any other games falling under the requirements prescribed by the decree.
It will be interesting to see which game will become the most popular and therefore whether poker games will remain the most attractive games or other games will prevail. 
If you want to discuss the above, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.  
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010
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After the approval of the decree on online casino games and poker cash games, it is time for hard work for gaming engineers. Indeed, the Italian decree on cash games and casino games has required that the gaming platform dedicated to the offer of such games shall comply with some technical specifications and shall be certified by a so called certification entity.
To this purpose, the Italian Gaming Authority has issued the Guidelines for the certification of the gaming platform and the application form and agreement for the certification entities that want to be accredited with the Italian Gaming Authority which is a requirement necessary to be qualified to certify the gaming platforms of Italian licensees.
Considering the impressive potentialities of the Italian gaming market of online cash games and casino games, it is the right time for new entrants in the market to review the technical requirements to which they shall comply if they want to apply for an Italian gaming license.
Do you need more in relation to the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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As anticipated in a previous post (Cash Games and Casino Games in Italy: the long wait is over), the Italian Gaming Authority has issued the decree regulating online poker cash games and casino games. 
Following the successful performance of the required technical authorisation process, Italian licensed operators will be able shortly to offer these new games, which are expected to represent the greatest development in the European gaming market in 2010. 
Indeed, such change follows the launch of online skill games (that allowed only tournament based poker games) in 2008 that led Italy to become the greatest online gaming market in Europe, and - according to a market analysis - the launch of poker cash and casino games alone will generate a turnover of respectively €5bn and €3bn in 2010.
This development is likely to encourage more and more operators to enter into the Italian gaming market and such decision will be eased also by the circumstance that the decree regulating the new Italian online gaming licenses - expected to be issued during the next months - will allow operators to locate their legal seat and equipment in any country of the European Economic Area, or in any other country (e.g. Isle of Man, Alderney etc.) that will enter into bilateral agreements with the Italian Gaming Authority. 
This means that licensed operators will only be obliged to pay Italian gaming taxes, while they will pay the corporate taxes of the country where they are established. 
Given the expected size of the poker cash games and casino games market in Italy, current Italian licensed operators are working non-stop to be among the first ones launching such games and new entrants are reviewing the best strategies to be active in the market under an Italian gaming license in the shortest possible term. Indeed, the increase in the turnover of the Italian gaming market is likely to be accompanied by the implementation of more stringent measures by the Italian Gaming Authority to block the offer of games by operators non-holding an Italian gaming license.      
Do you need any information about the Italian regime governing online casino and poker cash games? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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