The European Betting Association calls for an immediate action against Italy

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The EBA, the governing body of private European sports betting providers, called for the European Commission to prevent the adoption by the Italian Parliament of the Section 66 of the Finance Act 2006.

Section 66 is designed to deny access for gambling services suppliers, who are not in possession of an Italian concession, to the Italian telecommunications and Internet networks. In practice, the Ministry of Economy will notify the national telecommunications and Internet providers with a blacklist of gambling operators who do not hold Italian concessions. The telecommunications and Internet providers will have the duty of denying access to these gambling operators.

Section 66 also proposes tax reductions which do not apply to all undertakings and industries but only to the Italian official betting concessionaires.

The EBA said Section 66 would violate no less than five categories of Community rules or legislations, including freedom of establishment and freedom to provide cross-border services, freedom to supply telecommunication services, personal data protection, state aids and notification of technical standards and regulations affecting services of the information society.

On November 2, well established European Community operators originating from Germany, Scandinavia and the UK, active on the Italian market under EU law, have filed a complaint to the EU Commissioners as they see the Finance Act 2006 as a new attempt by the Italian Government to prevent access of foreign operators to their market.

“The failure of the Commission to address our complaints has encouraged the Italian Government to maintain its illegal gambling legislation and to seek to adopt new and even more restrictive measures”, said Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the Remote Gambling Association.

“We need the Commission to do something and to accept and discharge its responsibilities. It has to ensure the respect of EU law. Urgent action is needed unless they want the EU business community to believe that the Internal Market is a joke”, said Didier Dewyn, Secretary General of the European Betting Association.