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E.U. court rules against Italian gambling laws

The share prices of the European bookmakers climbed up today after the European Court of Justice ruled against the prosecution in Italy of three man who were taking bets on behalf of the  U.K. bookmaker Stanley International Betting. The court ruled today that Italy cannot bring criminal charges against gambling companies licensed in other E.U. countries.

The decision was welcomed by the U.K. bookmakers which have aggressive international marketing campaigns, both online and offline. It's also a step further for the E.U. Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, who has been trying hard to break down national barriers for the gambling market in the European Union. The commission is probing ten European countries for their gambling monopolies, some of which include Germany, France and the Netherlands. Depending of the outcome of the probe, those countries may face monopoly charges in the E.U. court.

Germany, which is one of the countries with state gambling monopoly, does not think this decision would affect them in any way. According to a spokesman of the German lottery, the situation in Italy is completely different as the country had already opened its borders for some foreign gambling companies, where Germany has a complete state monopoly, which is in place to prevent gambling addiction, an excuse favored by the E.U. courts.

Still many believe that the decision was based purely on the case facts alone and does not represent a milestone for the online betting companies, and offline bookmakers, and that it would take a different case and a different ruling in order for most of the E.U. countries to open their borders to foreign online gambling companies.

German French

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