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European Court: Italy Cannot Block Online Poker

Country, Partners Currently Have Monopoly On Such Games

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A European court has issued a preliminary ruling that Italy cannot legally block some gambling sites from accessing its 61 million person population.

Critics for Italy’s practice reportedly think that the country was simply trying to protect its “€2 billion gambling monopoly, belonging to the Italian state and a few authorized private partners,” according to Malta Today.

Some of the firms that were blacklisted are completely legal in Malta, but Italy still didn’t want them in. Italy legalized online poker cash games in 2011.

“The CJEU ruled that EU Member States restricting national gambling markets in order to favour the economic interest of incumbents over operators licensed in other Member States is against EU law. National legislation which precludes all cross-border activity in the betting and gaming sector, irrespective of the form in which that activity is undertaken, is contrary to EU law,” the reporting said.

Sites like PokerStars, Bwin and Lottomatica are reportedly allowed to do business in Italy.

“Articles 43 EC and 49 EC must be interpreted as meaning that, under the current state of EU law, the fact that an operator holds, in the Member State in which it is established, an authorisation permitting it to offer betting and gaming does not prevent another Member State, while complying with the requirements of EU law, from making such a provider offering such services to consumers in its territory subject to the holding of an authorization issued by its own authorities.”