CJEU denies Stanleybet on Italian ‘sole lottery concession’ appeal

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has delivered its judgement on Stanleybet’s challenge of the Italian Customs & Monopoly Authority – ADM’s sole lottery concession model/framework.

The CJEU rejected the joint appeal of Stanley International and Stanleybet Malta, which stated that the Italian government and its regulatory counterparts had denied betting incumbents services by enforcing an ‘exclusive national concession’ for lottery and lotto related games/products.

Stanleybet had launched its European court appeal in April 2016, challenging the €770 million exclusive renewal contract awarded to Italian lottery operator Lottomatica (IGT Group), in which no external party bid for the Italian concession.

The European betting group had stated that the ADM’s lottery tender process was redundant as its requirements and provisions were tailor-made for Lottomatica, with regulatory stakeholders allowing no external party to compete.

In its review of Stanleybet’s challenge, the CJEU has stated that the ADM’s ‘concessionaire model for the management of a lottery is compatible with EU Treaty – therefore business services were not denied.

The CJEU further adds that the management of member state lotteries is not a harmonised business sector for the EU, allowing the Italian government to add restrictions its deems fit to protect national consumers from gambling risks/harms.

Publishing the CJEU’s Stanleybet case notes, Arjan van ‘t Veer, Secretary General of the European Lotteries and Toto Association (EL), commented:

“The CJEU has clearly recognised that an exclusive concessionaire model, as chosen by the Italian legislator, is legitimate in order to promote responsible management of the lottery.”

“The judgment points to the particularities of our sector where restrictions can be put in place in the general interest and which must be kept free from companies that have been referred to a criminal court. EL welcomes the confirmation in this ruling.”