Italy has not the right to block online poker according to the CJEU
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has issued a preliminary ruling that Italy cannot legally block online gaming websites that originate from outside the country.
Italy has held a blacklist of operator sites it deems illegal for a number of years, a tactic copied by other EU Member states such as Belgium and long criticised by the igaming sector being against EU trade principles and protectionist towards the incumbent operators.
The CJEU ruled that EU Member States restricting national gambling markets in order to favour the economic interest if incumbents over operators that are licenced in other Member States are against EU law.
The court also concluded that national legislation, which provides all cross-border activity in the betting and gaming sector, is contrary to EU law.
The court said: “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 authorisation issued by its own authorities.
“Articles 43 EC and 49 EC must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which requires companies wishing to pursue activities linked to gaming and betting to obtain a police authorisation in addition to a licence issued by the State in order to pursue such activities and which restricts the grant of such authorisation inter alia to applicants who already hold such a licence.”