Rome TAR court upholds operator appeals on ‘denied extensions’

Italian online gambling incumbents have received some welcome news as Rome’s Lazio TAR Administrative Court sides with Betway, Sportpesa, Nexigames and Snaitech in their appeals against Italy’s ADM Customs and Monopolies Agency.

The operators had lodged separate TAR appeals against the ADM, as the regulatory body had failed to provide assurances that they would be able to reapply for licensing extensions.

Foreign operators had been left in the lurch by Italy’s Senate, which on two separate occasions had refused to review online gambling extensions (sports betting, casino and bingo) until Autumn 2022, impacting a reported 30 market incumbents.

With licenses expiring on 30 October, the ADM issued notice to effected operators ordering them to ‘comply and turn-off their online gambling services’ – an order immediately challenged by operators.

Having reviewed separate appeals, the TAR court ordered the ADM to ensure that each operator is granted a minimum one-year extension (until October 2021) to existing licences effective immediately.

The judgement stated that licensed incumbents had been denied a marketplace right to request further licensing extensions, regardless of the government and ADM plans to reform market conditions.

Furthermore, judges had sided with operators as its review cast doubts on the interpretation of licensing arrangements, authorised by the government as a provision of the ‘2016 Budget Law.

Approaching 2021, the TAR commands that the government must guarantee licensed operators that all conditions for online gambling concessions are ‘on the table’ for the passing of Italy’s next Budget Law which requires Parliamentary sign-off by the end of December.

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