Future of online gambling in Italy.


Dormant account
Dec 21, 2004
Milano, Italy
I know this is an international forum, and this thread will be meaningless for most of the users, but i'd like to explain everyone what is happening in Italy.
In the just approved Financial Law for 2006 our Government decided to introduce a new specifical law to protect italian monopoly on gambling market.
According to this law only a very short list of online bookmakers (something like 5 or 6) have the permission to offer their service to italian gamblers, and of course these are companies that decided to obtain special permissions from the Italian state(they are mainly italian bookmakers). All the other companies from january 1st are illegal in Italy. Italian providers have the duty to block the access to illegal sites, the fine for the transgressors goes from 30000 to 180000 euros ( :eek: this sounds scary)
This law has already been accused of being against european laws for a free market, infact the official reason added for the law (protect italian people from gambling addiction problems) is inconsistent considering the growing promotional campaigns for italian-based gambling games (Lotto, Totocalcio...).
An important english gambling portal has immeddiatly expressed its dissent from the pages of one of the most important italian newspapers, apparently receiving no answer from the government.
I'm especially interested in the opinions of casino rapresentants (not only european ones), just to know if I have a future as a simple player.
Jeeze! Are you sure you aren't living in communist China? What a mess!

Again we see elected politicians protecting monopolies in spite of what the people want (I'm assuming but I'm probably right).

It'll be interesting on how the casinos and players will get around this. When there is a will - there is a way. There are plenty of operators here brainstorming on how they will be retaining their Italian customers - and I'm sure Italian players are trying to figure out how to keep playing their favorite games. Isn't it nice to know your government is looking after your special interests and is willing to protect you? :rolleyes:

There are plenty of Italians in this forum to keep us updated on this; unless of course their server blocks Casinomeister.
I think this will be a messy battle - but it is infringing on European trade agreements and that should be enough to turn the matter around - after all the buerocrats have sucked a couple of year's worth of pay out of it.
From Casinomeister News a couple weeks back:


Latest moves to curb online gambling could infringe five EU rules

Media reports from Italy suggest that the government in that country is planning to crack down on "unauthorised" foreign gambling websites by requiring Internet Service Providers to initiate filters against them.

Such companies will risk fines of between Euro 30,000 and Euro 180,000 (US$36,000 and $215,000) for non-compliance.Currently, only six gambling Web portals are authorised and compliant with Italian laws, the reports claim.

The reports allege that the purpose of the initiative is to perpetuate the state gambling monopoly; with 1.8 million gamblers recorded last year and national revenues of more than $1.4 billion, the Italian government has a real interest in maintaining control.

The proposal has triggered opposition from two European trade associations, the European Betting Association and the Remote Gambling Association, both representing the interests of several large betting companies. In a joint resolution in November, the associations stated the latest moves would "...violate no less than five categories of European Community rules or legislation" as follows:

Freedom of establishment and freedom to provide cross-border services: Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty.

Freedom to supply telecommunication services: Directive 2002/20/EC on the Authorization of Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

Personal data protection: Directive 2002/58/EC on Privacy and Electronic Communications.

State aids: Article 87.1 of the EC Treaty.

Notification of technical standards and regulations affecting services of the information society: Directive 98/34/EC laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations.
Some italian players have already received an e-mail from a famous european bookmaker stating that in the case their site should be blocked from italian providers, they'll help italian customers to find "different ways" to have access to the site. They are already prepared to give us all the information to go around thet law (that's what i call a great customer service :thumbsup: )
I had read many things about this problem, included the Casinomeister news, but there's still an obscure point: what about the non european gambling sites? They' are not protected from that five violated rules!
Italy VS USA

The USA have wanted to rid their citizens of the right to gamble online, but so far have not managed to stem the tide.
Italy, it seems, have managed to come up with a method of enforcing this type of ban that is actually worrying the industry rather than the "business as usual" attitude they are taking to the US implied ban in the Telecommunications statutes.
I doubt Italy will get away with it, as it is indeed against EU rules, but the machinery moves slowly, so they will be able to buy time for their monopoly.
iTunes is being similarly investigated for similar breaches by preventing UK customers from buying music from French sites run by the French iTunes operation; it could take years rather than months to reach an enforceable ruling.

I am sure our Italian friends will find a way around this in the meantime. I know of one possible way I saw on our "Gadget show", in which a laptop was connected to the internet from the "middle of nowhere" by direct satellite link. As the Italian Government's juristiction does not extend into space, this is worth considering, bit pricey though, only for serious players! EU law would actually make it illegal for other European owned communications satellites to cooperate with the Italian ban.

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