Online gambling in Italy will now be less restrictive according to an announcement made by the European Commission. Before today, The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the National Horse Breeders Enhancement Society (UNIRE) had the exclusive rights to sports betting and organizing online gambling. This meant not only could other European gambling operators not offer their services in Italy but even their websites were effectively blocked.
The EU stance is that it will permit member states to restrict online gambling services for public interest but the restrictions must also apply to the member states local services and be non-discriminatory. The EU felt the Italy violated that stance and was preparing to take legal action. It took this kind of action against Italy in 2008 as well before they relaxed their online poker stance towards foreign operators.
With the dropping all its legal proceedings, this ends a battle between the EU and Italy that started in 2003. After getting nowhere for almost three years, the EU proceeded with its legal action in 2006. After three more years of open dialog, an agreement was reached in late 2009. Stating that it is pleased with the changes Italy has made, the EU finally dropped all their court proceedings this week.
With this new law, Italy will still have authority and supervision over online gambling but now there will be a lot broader choices for the people of Italy to choose from. Other European gambling operators will now have an opportunity to apply for Italian licenses and offer their services throughout Italy. There will still be safeguards in place to protect the players and oversee the legality of the services offered.