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.