Court extends Italian online gaming licences until December 2022

More than 30 operators
More than 30 operators

The court has sided with gaming operators, granting an extension on the expiry dates for existing gaming licences.

Italy.- The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio has ruled in favour of more than 30 operators who mounted a legal challenge over the expiration of Italian online gaming licences.

Italy’s regulator, the Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM), had previously refused to accept gaming operators’ appeals to extend the licences, which expired in late 2020 and early 2021.

The Lazio Court has now ruled that the licences must be extended until December 13, 2022. Operators that risked having their services terminated by ADM are now free to continue operating in Italy for at least the next 12 months.

The continuity of tax revenues and a counterweight against illegal gaming

The court said that the provisions of the 2016 stability law provided for “a necessary and unitary extensive projection to 31 December 2022” of all online concessions active at the time it came into force.

As well as the more than 30 concessions that have expired, there are another 50 or so online concessions that were granted after the 2018 tender and are valid until the end of 2022.

ADM should have expressly acknowledged the application of the stability law, instead of considering the original expiry of the concessions, the court found.

It added that the extension under the stability law “pursues public interests before private ones as it intends to guarantee the continuity of tax revenues and to counter illegal gaming”.

It concluded that, in the absence of a new tender procedure, failure to extend the expiring online gaming concessions “would have a distorting effect on competition as it would entail the reduction of concessionaires existing on the public gaming market”.

Earlier this week, the Regional Administrative Court for Lazio quashed a fine against Google for breaching Italy’s ban on gambling advertising. It ruled that Google couldn’t be held responsible for an online casino ad that circumvented its screening process.

The fine was issued against Google in October last year by the Italian communications watchdog Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM). Google had argued that Sublime Casino has placed the ad duplicitously without its knowledge.

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