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Copyright Giulio Coraggio 2018

 

The Italian Gaming Authority has launched the call for tenders on the so called "instant lotteries". Instant lotteries include "paper scratch cards" that can now be purchased in almost any tabacco shop in Italy (even though they can be sold also abroad) and "online scratch cards" which are accessible on the websites of any licensees. Players scartching the paper or the online scratch cards can win hundreds of thousand of Euros. The call for tenders is open to all the companies which:during the period 2006-2008 have reached a turnover equal to at least € 150,000,000 in the gaming sector. However, if the company has been established less than 3 years before the call for tenders its financial soundness shall be proved also merely through declarations from at least two banks; collected...

The recent decision of the European Court of Justice (see Landmark Decision of the ECJ on European gaming monopolies) in the Bwin vs. Santa Casa dispute might have considerable side effects on the online gaming business. The court held that overriding reasons in the public interest justify limitations set forth by local gaming laws to the principle of freedom to provide services set forth in the EC Treaty.In practical terms, it means that in theory any EU Member State could implement laws requiring that gaming operators can offer their games to people located in their country only if they obtain a local gaming license. This means that if, in the worst scenario for gaming operators, this approach would be followed by all the...

In a dispute of involving a German consumer and a German online retailer, the ECJ held that, in case of exercise of the right of withdrawal prescribed by the Distance Selling Directive, suppliers can charge consumers for the use of returned goods only in case of unjust enrichment or bad faith by the latter. Ms. Messner, a German consumer, bought from Stefan Krüger, a company which operates an Internet based mail-order business, a second-hand laptop computer on the Internet. Nine months after the purchase, Ms. Messner informed Stefan Krüger that the screen of the computer was defective and, after the refusal by Stefan Krüger to repair it, decided to withdraw from the contract of sale and offered to return the laptop...

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued yesterday its decision on the dispute between the Austrian gaming operator, Bwin, and the Portuguese gaming monopolist, Santa Casa de Misericòdia de Lisboa (Santa Casa). The dispute concerns Bwin’s sponsorship of the Portuguese professional football league which Santa Casa had challenged stating that the deal is in breach of of Portugal’s advertising code that expressly prohibits the advertising of games of chance in Portugal, except for games developed by Santa Casa, and issued fines against both Bwin and the football league. Bwin and the football league brought actions before the criminal court of Oporto requiring the annulment of such fines and the court referred the dispute to the ECJ asking for clarifications on...

Italian newspapers report today the information about the potential acquisition by Bwin, the listed Austrian gambling company, of Gioco Digitale, one of the biggest Italian licensed gaming operators which has been recently active especially in the skill games sector. According to the press, Bwin will pay € 90-95m for 100% of Gioco Digitale. The negotiations have been confirmed by Bwin's management, but are still ongoing and in particular it is not clear what impact the potential acquisition will have on Gioco Digitale whose market share was lowering during the last months especially because of the entrance into the market of relevant foreign operators....

After several years of disputes, the Italian Supreme Administrative Court (the "Consiglio di Stato") has issued a preliminary ruling in favour of Stanley International ordering the reopening of Stanley's betting outlets in Italy. Indeed, since 1994 Stanley International has been running in Italy betting outlets involved in the offer of betting services in absence of an Italian gaming licence. Italian authorities had ordered the closure of such outlets for the breach of Italian gaming laws which require an Italian gaming license for each betting outlet. However, the Italian Supreme Administrive Court, making reference to the decisions of the European Court of Justice concerning the Gambelli and Placanica cases, held that, in compliance with the EU principle of freedom of services,...

The Italian gaming authority has sent to the EC Commission the draft decrees regulating (i) videolotteries and (ii) cash games and fixed odd games of chance. The EC Commission will have now a 90 days period to raise any relevant comment or request of amendments. Prior to expire of such term the decrees cannot be issued and therefore licensees will not be entitled to lauch such games.The most relevant contents of the draft decrees are the following:VIDEOLOTTERIESthe maximum cost of a single game shall be € 10 with a minimum stake of € 0.50, while the the maximum allowed wins for each single game will be € 5,000 with the exclusion of the jackpot whose value shall not be higher...

According to the press, Ca Vendramin Calergi, the company that manages the Venice Casino, has put on sale its stake in the Casino. Currently a Russian entrepreneur and a Greek company appear interested. It is not still clear at which stage the negotiations are. The Venice Casino had revenues of € 200 millions in 2008....

The rules governing the gaming sector so far were an incredible amount of different rules which were never enough clear making the legal boundaries of the gaming sector sometimes uncertain. The recent coming into force of the so called Community Law 2008 made the playfield much more attractive for gaming operators. Through this law, the Italian Parliament (i) set forth the requirements for new operators to obtain an online Italian gaming license which will not be subject anymore to the performance of calls for tenders; (ii) expressly listed the most relevant clauses which gaming account agreements to be entered with players have to contain and (iii) more importantly raised up to 3 years of imprisonment the sanctions for operators offering their...