Italy has been convicted twice before the European Court of Justice for its gambling legislation, lack of clarity and infringement of the EU treaties. But where do we go from here?
Is the main result of these decisions the fact that Italian market is open for every new competitor ? Well, things are more complicated than it seems – Simon Banks has an interesting article that describes the present situation :
The liberalization of European gambling markets is proving long and somewhat tortuous as state monopolies struggle desperately to hang on to their privileged positions, despite the European Court of Justice consistently ruling in favor of operators trying to break into potentially lucrative markets. … Nowhere has the process been more fractious than in Italy, where two landmark rulings by the ECJ appear to have finally persuaded the Italian authorities that a system of licensing and regulating foreign operators is preferable to attempting prohibition.
With a relaxation of the regulatory regime thanks to pressure from Brussels, the Italian market would appear ripe for exploitation. However, an understanding of the Italian market and sports betting culture will be crucial for any operator seeking to take advantage of developments. While European operators, with their sports betting expertise, are leading the first wave of new entrants to the Italian market, it will probably be casino companies that will profit in the long term if, as expected, Italy eventually opens up its gaming market as it has its wagering market.