EGBA applauds latest ECJ ruling

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EGBA APPLAUDS ECJ RULING ON ITALIAN LICENSING

Another victory for online gambling

European Union nations are facing tighter European Commission scrutiny on betting license procedures, a press release from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) revealed this week. The release applauds the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the case (C-260/04) concerning the renewal of horse race betting licences in Italy.

Italian licensing agencies came in for stiff criticism in the court's ruling, which stated that ...the Italian Republic failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 43 (freedom of establishment) and 49 (freedom to provide services) of the EC Treaty.

In particular, the Court found that "...the Italian authorities infringed the general principle of transparency and the obligation to ensure a sufficent degree of advertising This week's court decision is in line with previous ECJ rulings reached in the Gambelli and Placanica cases.

According to the ECJ, Italian authorities cannot restrict access to European operators simply for the purpose of guaranteeing continuity, financial stability and a proper return on past investments for licence holders. Moreover, the Italian argumentation failed to show how the renewal or maintenance of the old concessions without a tendering procedure would in any way help to prevent clandestine betting.

Sigrid Lign, Secretary General of the EGBA commented: "The Courts decision sends a clear signal to [EU] Member States currently offering, or planning to offer, licences to European gaming and betting operators.

"The Court clearly states that the licensing must be undertaken within a set of clear and strict parameters, which are in line with the EC treaty. The Courts decision also underlines that these licences cannot be awarded without a transparent, competitive and fair tendering procedure.

Ligne confirmed that EGBA considers the ECJ ruling an important step towards a regulated European gaming and betting market and encourages Italy and other EU Member States to review their legislation.
 

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