The European gaming and betting association (EGBA), whose members include gaming giants PartyGaming and Bwin, have praised yesterdays European Court of Justice Ruling (ECJ) which stated that the Italian government has contravened articles of EU law as it considered the renewal of the country’s horse racing licences.

The ECJ argued that Italy had failed to realise its responsibilities under articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty, articles that deal with freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services, by blocking operators from neighbouring EU countries from gaining a foothold in the Italian betting market.

According to the ECJ, Italian authorities cannot continue to monopolise the local market simply by arguing that lack of foreign competition will secure, 'continuity, financial stability and a proper return on past investments for licence holders'.

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA, an organisation that promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are based and licensed in the EU, added:

'The Court's decision sends a clear signal to Member States currently offering, or planning to offer, licences to European gaming and betting operators.'


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