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Friday, January 28, 2011
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It seems that the tolerance of the Italian Gaming Authority (AAMS) to the unlawful offer of remote games to Italian residents in absence of an Italian remote gaming license has now reached an end. AAMS has challenged to Betfair Italia, the company of the Betfair group holding an Italian remote gaming license (under which it runs the website www.betfair.it) the breach of the provisions of the Italian gaming license agreement prohibiting the offer, also through affiliate companies, of games to Italian residents in breach of Italian law. Indeed, Italian law allows the offer of remote games to Italian residents only under an Italian gaming license.

However, despite of the applicable sanctions, apparently Betfair was still offering its games to Italian residents through its www.betfair.com website that is not operated under an Italian license. The gaming license agreement entered by Betfair Italia with AAMS entitles the latter, in case of performance of the challenged conduct mentioned above, to first issue a precautionary suspension of the license and to subsequently terminate it. Indeed, this is the course of action that AAMS is currently performing with the suspension of Betfair Italia's license for a 3 months period and the beginning of a proceeding aimed at the termination of Betfair's Italian license. Betfair tried to object to the AAMS' order of suspension challenging it before courts, but the order has been upheld first by the Administrative Court of First Instance and now by the Administrative Court of Appeal. Such double defeat might lead to the termination of Betfair's license with the consequential dramatic shutting off of the Italian Betfair website.

This dispute that is to my knowledge the first proceeding brought against a primary operator shows a new attitude by AAMS. Such circumstance coupled with new laws introduced late last year obliging operators offering games to Italian residents without an Italian gaming license to pay in any case Italian taxes on the amount unlawfully gained is likely to finally push operators to abide with the Italian licensing regime.

Needless to add that AAMS has showed a perfect timing in this case. In fact, the publication of the decree regulating the award of 200 additional remote gaming licenses is expected to occur shortly. We'll see whether after this dispute more and more operators targeting the Italian market with decide to apply for an Italian remote gaming license.
Do you want to know more about the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011
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The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has now closed the proceeding against Google concerning the abuse of dominant position with reference to Google News, subsequently extended also to Google AdSense.
The Italian Competition Authority has accepted the undertakings submitted by Google relating to:
  1. the setting up of a dedicated software allowing editors to “opt-out” to Google News i.e. to prevent their news to be displayed among Google News results without affecting their indexing among Google Search results; and
  2. the implementation of a higher level of transparency in the revenue sharing criteria implemented in the management of Google AdSense.
However, this decision is interesting also because it gave the opportunity to the Italian Competition Authority to review the market of exploitation of editorial contents on the Internet. Indeed, as a follow-up to the above mentioned decision, the AGCM sent a communication to the Italian Parliament requiring the adoption of laws regulating the sharing of advertising revenues between editors and third parties (i.e. search engines, aggregators etc.) exploiting editorial contents.
This communication is likely to lead to considerable debates also because of the parallel consultation of the Italian Communications Authority.
It is likely that all the world will start looking at Italy to understand what it is going to happen next… Do you want to discuss about the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.  
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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The Italian Gaming Authority has published the data relating to the Italian online gaming market for year 2010. In a snapshot, these are the most interesting data:
  • sportsbetting fixed odd betstotal turnover of € 1,353,178,392 with an increase of 10.8% compared to 2009 with 1,627,226 active gaming accounts;
  • poker tournaments and skill games: total turnover of € 3,145,944,940 with an increase of 34% compared to 2009, a pay-out of 88.2% and 2,127,864 active gaming accounts;
  • bingo games: total turnover of € 146,141,067 with no data available for 2009 as online bingo games were launched in December 2009, but with a considerable increase during the last months of the year when a turnover exceeding € 17 M has been reached during each month.
The total aggregate turnover relating to the entire remote gaming sector has been € 4,826,692,103 with an increase of 28,2% compared to 2009.
Such data show that skill games which mainly include poker tournament games have been by far the most successful games and this is expected to create even higher expectations for the launch of cash poker games and casino games likely to occur by the end of the 1st quarter 2011 to be coupled with the upcoming new remote gaming licenses.
Do you want to know more on the Italian gaming market? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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The main topic during this week in the gaming industry seems to be…, are you in London next week?
Well, I will be in London from the 23rd to the 25th attending the Legal Gaming in Europe Summit 2011 and on the 25th the ICE.
Do you want to meet up to discuss about the Italian gaming market in front of a good English beer? Just send an email to me, Giulio Coraggio.
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Sunday, January 9, 2011
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The Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) has launched a public consultation aimed at setting new regulations on the protection of copyright on electronic communications networks that include both Internet and television networks. The document attached to the public consultation notice sets out the guidelines of the regulations that AGCOM is willing to issue and addresses specific questions to operators interested in joining (within 60 days) the consultation. 
The consultation is relevant for ISPs as AGCOM's guidelines refer to the adoption of a "notice and take down" system modelled on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and based on the following 5 steps:
  1. notice of the copyright owner to the ISP/provider of audiovisual contents;
  2. in case of lack of removal of the contents, notice to AGCOM;
  3. investigation on the dispute by AGCOM together with the parties;
  4. adoption of order by AGCOM; and
  5. monitoring of the compliance with the order and issuing of sanctions in case of lack of compliance.
It is still uncertain how (and if) AGCOM is willing to limit the risk of (i) potential abuses by copyright owners of the above mentioned mechanic and of (ii) potential liabilities for ISPs that might be obliged to remove any content subject of a notice. Indeed, the current version of the guidelines prescribe that the ISP is obliged to remove the contents if "the notice is grounded" leaving to the discretion of ISPs the evaluation on the groundness of the notice which represents the main weakness of the system currently adopted through the implementation of the EU E-Commerce Directive.
Do you want to know more on the above? Do you want to join the consultation? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.
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