s reported on EGRmagazine.com, online bingo was launched in Italy at the end of December 2009, but was suspended last month when the administrative court of the Lazio region ruled that the approval of the decrees regulating online bingo have been found not compliant with the formalities required by Italian law and cancelled the decree.
However the Administrative Court of Appeal has ordered the temporary suspension of the Administrative Court of Lazio's decision, meaning that online operators can continue to offer the game until a verdict has been reached after the hearing on 23 March.
Giulio Coraggio, a gaming lawyer at the Italian arm of law firm Lovells, said: “The online bingo decree has been subject of considerable complaints from minor bingo operators which risk to lose a considerable number of players to the benefit of major operators like Gioco Digitale, that in the first months of 2010 raised more than 6 million euros through the offer of online bingo”. He added: "Equally, major bingo operators have already borne substantial investments for the launch of online bingo and cannot afford to lose them.”’
Italy is Europe's biggest egaming market, and the news will be welcomed by operators seeking to capitalise on investments in the bingo space in Italy.
These include Playtech, which revealed it will target Italian bingo after the company bought UK bingo provider Virtue Fusion last month; Bwin, which bought Gioco Digitale in September 2009; Partygaming, which acquired Foxy-bingo owner Cashcade in July 2009; and Virgin Games, which aims to leverage Virgin's strong brand presence in Italy to market the company's games brand there after Virgin Games completed a two and half year platform build early this year.