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Wednesday, September 29, 2010
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As most of the gaming operators know, the ENADA Rome 2010, the most important Italian gaming fair, is upcoming.

However, what some of the operators maybe do not know is that on the 8th of October at the ENADA it will take place a very interesting conference in English named “VLTs in Italy” to avoid any misunderstanding in relation to the topic of the conference.

I will be one of the speakers covering the “Legal Requirements for Operating in a VLT market” and, as usual, I invite all the readers of GamingTechLAW to come to me to say Hi! See you at the ENADA then!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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After the success of the previous version of the FAQs, I thought that it might be useful publishing an updated version of the FAQs to help operators willing to apply for one of the Italian online gaming licenses that will be shortly available:

Q. - Why do I need an Italian gaming license to enter into the Italian gaming market? My company already holds a foreign gaming license, what are the benefits of an Italian gaming license?
Read this article on the topic "What are the benefits of an Italian Gaming License".

Q. - Do I need that my company is established in Italy or that the servers are located in Italy to apply for an Italian gaming license?
No, under the draft decree introducing the new licensing regime the operator and its servers can be located in any country of the European Economic Area. Also, we will find out shortly whether operators will be also entitled to locate their servers also in any country that has a bilateral agreement with the Italian Gaming Authority that might include for instance Alderney and the Isle of Man.

Q. - What is the turnover of the Italian gaming market?
Read this article on the topic "Italian Gaming Market: An Impressive Growth".

Q. - But I have heard that offline gaming terminals are very relevant in Italy for the online business, is it true?
This might be true under the old gaming license regime, but the new regime will prohibit such gaming terminals. Read this article on the topic "The Death of Gaming Totems. An Advantage for New Entrants?".

Q. - Ok, can apply for a license NOW?
No, the draft decree prescribiling the issue of the new gaming licenses is currently under the review of the European Commission. After the expiry of the so called "stand still" occuring on the 15th of October 2010, the Italian Gaming Authority will publish the decree and operators will be able to apply for new licenses.

Q. - So for the time being is there any possibility to enter into the Italian gaming market for a new operator?
Currently the only two open options are either the acquisition of a license (or of the entire company holding the license) from another operator or the management of the website under the license of another operator (i.e. through a white label agreement).

Q. - But I am not interested in this kind of deals, shall I just wait then?
No, operators shall start getting ready working on their platforms as the Italian technical requirements are very peculiar and collecting the documentation required to submit the application for a remote license.

Q. - Let's speak about technical issues, I have heard that operators have to comply with stringent technical requirements.
This is true, but the problem can be overcome through agreements with other operators that allow licensees to use their platform which is already approved by the Italian Gaming Authority and therefore under these circumstances the operator's platform does not need to be tested and approved again by the Italian Gaming Authority.

Q. - Final question: Taxes
The gaming duty varies depending on the type of game involved. For instance in case of bingo it is 11% of the turnover, in case of cash games and casino games it will be 20% of the revenues, while in case of skill games (including online poker tournament) it is 3% of the turnover.

If you are interested in entering into the Italian gaming market and you have additional questions, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010
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The Italian Supreme Court held that the delivery of spams does not breach Section 660 (harassment) of the Italian criminal code that sanctions with the imprisonment up to six months or with a fine up to € 516.46 whoever, in a public place or in a place open to the public, or by means of the telephone, for insistency or other blameworthy reasons, harasses or bothers someone.
It is interesting to see that on the same case, The Court of First Instance had taken a different view holding that Section 660 was an "open" provision to be interpreted in accordance with the technical developments of communication technologies. Therefore, even though the harassment was not made by means of the telephone, Section 660 would be applicable to the case. On the contrary, the Supreme Court rejected the arguments of the Court of First Instance stating that the Italian criminal code cannot be interpreted by analogy extending to email messages the regime applicable to phone calls. Also, the Court held that the delivery of an email message would constitute an "asynchronous" form of communication which allows the recipient to decide whether or not he wants to read the message. In other words, the action of the sender would only result in the storage of a text document on the server of the e-mail service provider; then the recipient would be free to access his/her email account and read or delete the message.
This is a very interesting decision but in my view it has a very limited scope. Indeed, the Supreme Court did not cover the data protection law issues which may arise from the delivery of emails without having obtained the prior consent from the relevant data subject. Indeed, according to the Italian Data Protection Code, such conduct is subject to fines up to € 300,000 (doubled in the most relevant cases) and, if the criminal courts deem that the breach occurred to gain profit or to cause a damage to a data subject (e.g. to harass someone), with the imprisonment up to 18 months.
Do you want to discuss the implications of the above matter on your business? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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