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  1. #1
    Namic is offline Private Member
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    Thumbs up VICTORY for EU Internet Gaming !

    Itís official, the EU Court of Justice decided that it is contrary to the free EU trade to make European gaming operators illegal to take bets from other memberís state.

    What it means for gambling affiliates targeting the European market:
    All countries in Europe will not take the route the US took. No banning of internet gaming will happen !!!!

    Happy Marketing



    THE COURT OF JUSTICE RULES THAT THE ITALIAN CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR THE COLLECTING OF BETS BY INTERMEDIARIES ACTING ON BEHALF OF FOREIGN COMPANIES ARE CONTRARY TO COMMUNITY LAW
    http://curia.europa.eu/en/actu/commu...cp070020en.pdf

  2. #2
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    This is great news!
    Exit stage left

  3. #3
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    Following the ruling, bwin sent out the following press release:

    PRESS RELEASE - bwin

    06/03/2007

    ECJ judgement in Placanica case: another milestone on the road to opening up the European gaming market

    bwin welcomes today's judgement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Placanica case. The judgement represents a further important decision for the freedom of services as a fundamental pillar of the European Union. In concrete terms, the judgement in the "Placanica" case means that the Italian legislation prohibiting the cross-border provision of betting under threat of imprisonment is in infringement of the freedom of establishment and services under the Treaty on European Union. State monopolies were not in compliance with EU legislation before, but in the light of this judgement are no longer tenable.

    Professor Siegbert Alber, former Vice-President of the European Parliament and Advocate General in the Gambelli proceedings, sees today's ruling by the ECJ as follows: "Monopolies cannot and should not be the only means of regulating gaming. Granting licences can serve the same purpose. The reasons given for Italy's monopoly in the Placanica case are far more honest than the pronouncements made by other member states. At least Italy admits that its approach of simultaneously issuing licences is designed to increase revenues and only to combat illegal gaming operators."

    Following the ECJ's judgement in the Gambelli case and the institution of infringement proceedings by the European Commission against a total of nine member states in connection with gaming, today's Placanica judgement provides confirmation of bwin's own legal opinion. At the same time, it also represents further vital confirmation of the freedom of services within the European Union.

    The bwin Group has over 10 million registered customers (including 7 million play money customers) in over 20 core target markets. Operating under international and regional licences in countries like Gibraltar, Kahnawake (Canada), Belize and Germany, Italy, Mexico, Austria and the United Kingdom, the Group has set itself the goal of becoming the number one address for sports betting, games and entertainment via digital distribution channels. The Group offers sports betting, poker, casino games, soft and skill games, as well as audio and video streams on top sporting events such as the German Bundesliga. The parent company bwin Interactive Entertainment AG has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since March 2000 (ID code BWIN, Reuters ID code BWIN.VI). Further information about the Company can be found on its investor relations website at www.bwin.ag.


    Further information
    Press:
    Karin Klein, Corporate Communications
    bwin Interactive Entertainment AG
    BŲrsegasse 11, 1010 Vienna, Austria
    Tel.: +43 (0)50 858-20008
    E-mail: press@bwin.org
    www.bwin.ag


    Investors:
    Konrad Sveceny, Investor Relations
    bwin Interactive Entertainment AG
    BŲrsegasse 11, 1010 Vienna, Austria
    Tel.: +43 (0)50 858-20017
    E-mail: investorrelations@bwin.ag
    www.bwin.ag
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  4. #4
    vinism's Avatar
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  5. #5
    pgaming's Avatar
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    Good news, perhaps it would be wise for the U.S adminstration to follow the EU version of democracy. Hail to the Europeans for upholding the "freedom of choice".

    greek39

  6. #6
    vinism's Avatar
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    Here's the text of the EU press release on the case:

    Press and Information
    PRESS RELEASE No 20/07
    6 March 2007

    Judgment of the Court of Justice in Joined Cases C-338/04, C-359/04 and C-360/04

    Criminal proceedings against Massimiliano Placanica and Others

    THE COURT OF JUSTICE RULES THAT THE ITALIAN CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR THE COLLECTING OF BETS BY INTERMEDIARIES ACTING ON BEHALF OF FOREIGN COMPANIES ARE CONTRARY TO COMMUNITY LAW

    A Member State may not apply a criminal penalty for failure to complete an administrative formality where, in breach of Community law, such completion is refused or rendered impossible by that Member State

    Under Italian legislation, the organising of games of chance or the collecting of bets is subject to possession of a licence and a police authorisation. Any infringement of those rules carries criminal penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment.

    In 1999, following calls for tenders, the competent Italian authorities awarded 1000 licences for sports betting and 671 new licences for betting on competitive horse events (329 existing licences were automatically renewed). Those licences were valid for six years and renewable for a further period of six years. The calls for tender excluded in particular operators in the form of companies whose shares were quoted on the regulated markets.

    One such company was Stanley International Betting Ltd (‘Stanley’), a company incorporated under English law, licensed by the City of Liverpool and a member of the group Stanley Leisure plc, an English company quoted on the London stock exchange which at that time was the fourth biggest bookmaker and the largest casino operator in the United Kingdom. Stanley operates in Italy through ‘data transmission centres’ (DTCs) run by independent operators with contractual links to Stanley, who place a data transmission link at the disposal of bettors so that they can access the server of Stanley’s host computer in the United Kingdom.

    Mr Placanica, Mr Palazzese and Mr Sorricchio are all DTC operators linked to Stanley. In 2004 they appeared before the Tribunale di Larino and the Tribunale di Teramo, charged with pursuing the organised activity of collecting bets without the required police authorisation. Those courts asked the Court of Justice of the European Communities whether the Italian legislation on betting and gaming is compatible with the Community principles of freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.
    The Court of Justice points out first that legislation which prohibits – on pain of criminal penalties – the pursuit of activities in the betting and gaming sector without a licence or a police authorisation issued by the State, places restrictions on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services. However, moral, religious or cultural factors, as well as the morally and financially harmful consequences for the individual and for society associated with betting and gaming, may justify such restrictions. Those restrictions must nevertheless satisfy the conditions concerning their proportionality. The Court proceeds to examine the various requirements imposed by Italian legislation.

    Licences
    Italy is pursuing a policy of expanding activity in the betting and gaming sector, with the aim of drawing players away from clandestine betting and gaming – activities prohibited as such – to activities which are authorised and regulated. The Court recognises that in order to achieve that aim, authorised operators must represent a reliable, but at the same time attractive, alternative to a prohibited activity. This may as such necessitate the offer of an extensive range of games, advertising on a certain scale and the use of new distribution techniques.

    The objective invoked by Italy by way of justification for the licensing requirement is that of preventing the exploitation of activities in the betting and gaming sector for criminal purposes. The Court acknowledges that a licensing system may constitute an efficient mechanism enabling the control of operators active in that sector.

    The Court does not have sufficient facts before it, however, to be able to assess whether the limitation of the total number of licences is compatible with Community law. The fact that a particular number of licences was considered on the basis of a specific assessment to be ‘sufficient’ for the whole of the national territory could not of itself justify the obstacles to the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services brought about by that limitation. In that connection, the Court therefore directs the national courts to determine whether, in limiting the number of operators active in the betting and gaming sector, the national legislation genuinely contributes to the objective invoked by the Italian Government, namely, that of preventing the exploitation of activities in that sector for criminal or fraudulent purposes.

    The Court also holds that the blanket exclusion of companies from tender procedures for the award of licences goes beyond what is necessary in order to achieve the objective of preventing operators active in the betting and gaming sector from being involved in criminal or fraudulent activities. There are other ways of monitoring the accounts and activities of operators which impinge to a lesser extent on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services (for example, the gathering of information on their representatives or their main shareholders). The Court adds that, in view of the unlawful nature of the exclusion of certain operators from the tender procedures, the Member State has an obligation to lay down detailed procedural rules (for example, for the revocation and redistribution of the old licences) to ensure the protection of the rights which those operators derive by direct effect of Community law. Meanwhile, the lack of a licence cannot be a ground for the application of sanctions to such operators.

    Police authorisations

    The procedure for the grant of a police authorisation presupposed the award of a licence and, in consequence, is vitiated by the same defects as taint the award of the licences. Accordingly, the lack of a police authorisation cannot be a valid ground for complaint in respect of persons who
    have been unable to obtain them because, contrary to Community law, they were barred from any possibility of being granted a licence.

    The criminal penalties

    In principle, criminal legislation is a matter for which the Member States are responsible. However, Community law sets certain limits to that power: criminal legislation may not restrict the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by Community law. The Court makes it clear once again that a Member State may not apply a criminal penalty for failure to complete an administrative formality where such completion has been refused or rendered impossible by the Member State concerned, in breach of Community law. In consequence, Italy cannot apply criminal penalties to persons such as the defendants in the main proceedings for pursuing the organised activity of collecting bets without a licence or a police authorisation.

    Unofficial document for media use, not binding on the Court of Justice.
    Languages available: BG CS DE EL EN ES FR HU IT NL PL PT RO SK SL
    The full text of the judgment may be found on the Court’s internet site http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=EN&Submit=rechercher&numaff=C-338/04 It can usually be consulted after midday (CET) on the day judgment is delivered.

    For further information, please contact Christopher Fretwell Tel: (00352) 4303 3355 Fax: (00352) 4303 2731

  7. #7
    vinism's Avatar
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    I just gave the press release and thought I'd pull out a few key points and offer my thoughts. First off, this is definitely great news!

    The ruling is quite clear.

    Italy cannot apply criminal penalties to persons such as the defendants in the main proceedings for pursuing the organised activity of collecting bets without a licence or a police authorisation.
    The EU also says restricting who can offer gaming services clearly violates basic EU tenets.

    The Court of Justice points out first that legislation which prohibits – on pain of criminal penalties – the pursuit of activities in the betting and gaming sector without a licence or a police authorisation issued by the State, places restrictions on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.
    But here's where the qualifiers come in. The court affirms the right of nations to restrict gaming on moral, cultural, and societal grounds. It appears that such restrictions will be dealt with on a case by case basis. And that the restrictions must be proportional to the harm.

    However, moral, religious or cultural factors, as well as the morally and financially harmful consequences for the individual and for society associated with betting and gaming, may justify such restrictions. Those restrictions must nevertheless satisfy the conditions concerning their proportionality. The Court proceeds to examine the various requirements imposed by Italian legislation.
    The court also isn't convinced that restricting the number of licenses will achieve Italy's goals. But they're leaving that decision to the Italian courts for now. But they've clearly reserved the right to review it again in the future.

    The Court does not have sufficient facts before it, however, to be able to assess whether the limitation of the total number of licences is compatible with Community law. The fact that a particular number of licences was considered on the basis of a specific assessment to be ‘sufficient’ for the whole of the national territory could not of itself justify the obstacles to the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services brought about by that limitation. In that connection, the Court therefore directs the national courts to determine whether, in limiting the number of operators active in the betting and gaming sector, the national legislation genuinely contributes to the objective invoked by the Italian Government, namely, that of preventing the exploitation of activities in that sector for criminal or fraudulent purposes.

  8. #8
    vinism's Avatar
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    Here's a pretty good story from Bloomberg on the ruling and its impact:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p....NLr8&refer=uk

  9. #9
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    Great news! Although this was on the cards for a while, it's nice to see some actual decisions.

  10. #10
    Tony is offline Private Member
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    Yes! now if we can get the US to do the same thing.

  11. #11
    vinism's Avatar
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    Here's the story our reporter put together on the ruling:

    EU court rules against Italy in Internet gambling case

    By Aaron Todd


    The European Court of Justice ruled today that Italy could not bar gambling companies from other European Union nations from doing business with Italian citizens.

    The ruling could force state-run monopolies in Germany and France to open up to competition.

    Italy had prosecuted three executives from Stanley Leisure under its criminal code for accepting bets without receiving authorization from Italian authorities. The three operated shops in Italy that allowed people to place bets with Stanley’s home office in Liverpool, U.K.

    But the EU court ruled that Italy’s restrictions – which had been rescinded before the case was heard – violated the EU’s principles of freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.

    In the explanation behind its ruling the EU court did state that “moral, religious or cultural factors, as well as the morally and financially harmful consequences for the individual and for society associated with betting and gaming, may justify such restrictions (on gambling).”

    But if an EU country is going to restrict gambling competition on those grounds, they had better be prepared to make a solid case. “Those restrictions must nevertheless satisfy the conditions concerning their proportionality,“ the court said. Italy had cited preventing criminal and fraudulent behavior as the intent of the original law.



  12. #12
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    principles of freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.
    It wasn't intuitive to me what the European community laws mean by freedom of establishment is so I went and looked it up.

    From http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/...nciples_en.htm:
    The principle of freedom of establishment enables an economic operator (whether a person or a company) to carry on an economic activity in a stable and continuous way in one or more Member States. The principle of the freedom to provide services enables an economic operator providing services in one Member State to offer services on a temporary basis in another Member State, without having to be established.
    I'd figured they were more distinct than these principles really are, they simply distinguish between the nature of the trade barrier involved... one the one hand selling across state borders, and on the other hand adding a state within which you're selling internally.

    So it seems to be the physical shops that brought freedom of establishment principles into relevance in this case.
    I have left the industry and earned a law degree at Indiana University Bloomington, Maurer School of Law. Here are ways to stay in touch with me:
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  13. #13
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    My question is:

    These principles seem to parallel broader principles of free trade expressed in GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). One has to wonder if this ruling will make the EU argument on behalf of EU members against the US more "valid" with the WTO. We all read that they were considering an appeal but, with their own house and doorstep now apparently in order, perhaps they would be more willing to pursue this course?

    If you read the WTO Facts and Fiction page (here http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/...tfiction_e.htm), you will see that we are simply looking at a fair treatment ethic but NOT alienating the local government (in the case the USA) from attaching conditions to any trade. The big question is whether Foreign entities have access to the same markets that USA Nationals do and if so, what the conditions of access are. In this case, the answer is not as obvious as we would like but there seems to definitely be a case that must be heard. The USA is a party to GATS.
    Have a wonderful day

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