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European Court Rules Against Stanleybet

European Court of Justice concept

A legal challenge by bookmaker Stanleybet against the Agenzia della Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) – Italy’s betting regulator – has been rejected by the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

The appeal, made jointly by Stanley International and Stanleybet Malta, claimed that the Italian government and regulators had enforced what they described as an ‘exclusive national concession’ for all lottery and lotto-related products, denying competition from betting industry incumbents

The Stanleybet appeal was launched back in April 2016, in order to challenge the €770 million renewal contract that was given to lottery operator Lottomatica (IGT Group) by ADM.

No external company was allowed to bid for the concession, and in its appeal, Stanleybet alleged that the ADM lottery tender process was effectively redundant, with no other companies allowed to compete and that therefore it was a denial of business services in breach of EU law.

Harmonised business sector

But in rejecting the Stanleybet appeal, the CJEU said that the concessionaire model employed by the ADM for managing its lottery was fully compatible with EU Treaties. It also stated that the management of lotteries in member states was not part of the harmonised EU business sector, so the Italian government and its regulators were entitled to add whatever restrictions they wished in order to help to protect their residents from gambling risks.

Commenting on the ruling, the Secretary General of the European Lotteries and Toto Association (EL) said that he welcomed the confirmation of EU law in this area:

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.”

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