he draft, which lays down requirements for remote gaming companies to establish operations in Italy, also raised concerns from Malta in the form of a Detailed Opinion. According to the EGBA, these decisions strictly prevent Italy from adopting its Decree in its current form before 29 April 2008, and should bring it to amend its draft.
Sigrid Ligné, EGBA Secretary General said: “The Commission's decision suggests that even if Italy has demonstrated a genuine improvement in bringing its legislation into line with EU law, the Italian remote gaming legislation still contains measures that don't serve a clear legitimate public order interest.”
In particular, the EGBA believes that in establishing a level of protection for Italian citizens, the Italian authorities must take into account the protection already provided by operators that are fully regulated, licensed and established in other EU jurisdictions.
The new Decree also seeks to impose severe restrictions on the types of games which a player based in Italy can bet on, thereby reducing competition to the detriment of the consumer. The Draft Decree also imposes an obligation for remote operators to connect continuously to the Italian regulator’s centralized IT system, thereby imposing additional costs and a technological barrier for foreign operators.
The EGBA said that even if this requirement has been imposed to limit crime prevention, it is disproportionate and does not take into account other less burdensome and costly technological measures that already exist in other EU jurisdictions. “We hope that in the coming weeks, the Italian authorities will amend their draft decree in an attempt to solve the few remaining issues” added Sigrid Ligné.
The Italian draft Decree was notified to Commissioner Verheugen's services and Member States under Directive 98/34/EC at the end of December 2007. The notification procedure is aimed at preventing Member States from creating new barriers to the internal market freedoms by giving the opportunity to the Commission and Member States to evaluate the content of a draft law before it is adopted.