The State Monopolies Authority seems to have approached the regulatory leap into online and remote-access skill-based games with trepidation: forced by law to allow them, it has tried to do so in the most regulated and controlled way possible. Despite this approach, many aspects of the new regulations are unclear and potentially vulnerable to challenge by operators.
Betting operators and service users throughout Italy are familiar with punti di commercializzazione - shops or concessions which promote licensed online betting services and offer facilities for accessing such services. However, the gambling market has changed radically since the main regulating decree for such shops was introduced in 2006 and new legislation has put their future regulation in doubt.
The Italian authority with responsibility for granting a travel agency licence is the government office of the province in which the company in question intends to open the agency. The company must supply details of its corporate status and comply with certain financial and insurance requirements.
Gaming operators have welcomed the ruling issued by the European Court of Justice in the Placanica Case. Although the decision does not break new ground, it adds to the case law on the compatibility of Italian regulations on gambling with EU principles and confirms the principles established in the Gambelli Case.
The European Commission is once again preparing for infringement proceedings against Italy in relation to its restrictions on online gambling. The confusion over Italy's legislation and contradictory case law has highlighted the fact that the state is restricting betting services provided by operators without Italian licences while creating ever more licensed but inadequately monitored betting opportunities.
A month after an Italian civil court ordered interim measures in favour of the operators of a gambling website which had been blacklisted by the State Monopolies Authority, the list of unauthorized websites has been challenged again, this time before an administrative court.
Two months after the government introduced a blacklist of gambling websites to be blocked by Italian internet service providers, the courts have issued the first rulings on the attempted ban. The Civil Court of Rome has ordered the restrictions on access to a Maltese betting operator's website to be lifted, and all elements of the new regulatory framework are expected to be challenged at national and EU level.
The State Monopolies Authority has ordered Italian internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling operators. However, the implementing resolution is clearly aimed at encouraging players back to traditional, taxable forms of gambling, even though European case law has established that the loss of tax revenue is not sufficient reason to restrict gambling services.
Italy's new Consumer Code sets out regulations for consumer protection in the travel industry, clarifying operators' and retailers' obligations and customers' rights. The legislation covers transparent advertising and terms of sale, the cancellation or alteration of a travel package, operators' liability and the provision of compensation.