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Copyright Giulio Coraggio 2018

 

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...

  It seems that the Italian Government has understood the enormous potentialities of the gaming market. Following the recent earthquake in the centre of Italy, as part of plan aimed at collecting funds for the rebuilding of the destroyed areas, it has been issued a decree empowering the Italian gaming authority to regulate, among others, online poker cash games and fixed odd betting with direct interaction between players. Indeed, as far as online poker games are concerned, licensed operators could only run so far poker tournaments and solitaire which were launched at the end of last year and were the very hot games of the Italian winter with new operators trying to attract more and more players offering incredibly high jackpots. The specific...

  The Italian gaming authority (AAMS) has just issued the regulations governing the online bingo. The operators holding an offline bingo license will be merely required to go through an authorisation process which is subject to the fulfilment of some technical requirements and the provision of bank guarantees to obtain the right to offer online bingo to Italian residents. The price of each bingo card shall vary between € 0.10 and € 5.00 and will be determined by the licensee with reference to each game. Also, the decrees of the AAMS governing the bingo game require that 58% of the amount collected from the sale of the cards is converted in prizes, while the tax burden is equal to 20% of...

The Times Online reports that Ladbrokes, the English bookmaker, has decided to put on sale its 170 Italian betting shops for an estimated £ 50 million. According to the Times Online, the main reason of this decision is that "the continued presence of illegal shops, increased competition and the withdrawal of the protective distance rule". Indeed, a number of operators are currently putting pressure on the Italian gaming authority (the AAMS) to adopt more stringent measures against unlawful gaming to protect their investments. I agree that this is a very relevant issue, but as already reported (see Action Plan against Unlawful Gaming), a law empowering the AAMS to implement an action plan aimed at substantially limit unlawful gaming has been...