The decision of the European Court of Justice in the Stanleybet case might affect the future of the Italian sportsbetting market during a period when CTDs are still on time to “cure” their status.
The StanleyBet case
As previous covered, the peculiarity of the Italian sportsbetting market is that there are both Italian licensed betting shops and the so called CTDs that are Internet cafes operated as betting shops under a foreign licensed issued to a foreign bookmaker on the basis of the EU principle of freedom of services.
The Italian licensing regime has been challenged several times before the European Court of Justice and apparently the Italian Government wanted to “cure” such situation when it launched in 2013 a procedure for the award of new betting shop licenses lasting for only 40 months up to 2016 when the licenses of also the other betting shops will expire.
Stanleybet challenged this call for tenders mainly because of the short term of the awarded licenses which usually lasts for 9 years. However, the European Court of Justice now held that the award of such short term licenses is not in breach of EU laws. Therefore the betting shop licenses awarded in 2013 remain valid while Stanleybet had requested to revoke them.
What consequences on the gaming market?
The issue relates to the reaction from Italian courts to this decision and whether courts will take the position that the new decision of the European Court of Justice now prevents CTDs to operate if not authorized.
And as mentioned in this post, such decision comes when CTDs are still on time to join the procedure prescribed by the budget law entitling them to be authorized to operate in Italy up to 2016 enjoying a discount on retrospective taxes.
CTDs have time up to the end of January to take a decision on the matter and this decision might affect their position leading to interesting developments in the Italian sportsbetting market. This is not going to be an “easy” decision given the current uncertainty both in relation to the future court cases and with reference to the authorization procedure referred above.