ECJ rejects Stanleybet Italian €8m tax appeal

European betting group StanleyBet has lost its European Court of Justice (ECJ) appeal, contesting an Italian tax dispute related to wagers processed through its data centres.

During the four-year long tax dispute, StanleyBet had brought an appeal to ECJ judges, challenging Italy’s Customs & Monopiles Agency (ADM) €8 million tax demand.

Italy’s ADM had demanded that StanleyBet pay €8 million related to customer wagers conducted through the firm’s sports caffe properties between 2011-2016.

StanleyBet challenged ADM’s demands, branding the penalty as ‘illegal and discriminatory’, as its caffe wagers were processed by the firm’s data centres licensed in Malta.

The betting group argued that the ADM’s tax charge constituted a double tax on its business, breaching the EU’s charter on discrimination of foreign enterprises.

In its response, ADM stated that StanleyBet had been purposely utilising European licensing technicalities in order to avoid paying taxes on transactions placed through the firm’s caffe premises.

Failing to find any settlement through Italian high courts, StanleyBet’s dispute was forwarded for ECJ arbitration, Europe’s highest court governing business disputes.

Ultimately this Wednesday ECJ judges overruled Stanleybet’s appeal, ruling that the ADM had a right to sanction its penalty against the operator, regardless of where its data centres were based.

The ECJ ruled that Italian gambling laws hold no distinction on the ‘basis of where a bet is placed’ underlining that ADDM’s tax charge could not be regarded as discriminatory of Stanleybet’s Malta subsidiary.

Further backing its judgement, the ECJ stated that Stanleybet could not expect a regulatory department to alter its oversight functions ensuring that EU-related anomalies do not occur.

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