Italian Online Casino Restrictions
Italy is making a relatively unwise business decisions regarding its recent attempts to restrict online casino sites from appearing on the computers of Italian gamblers. Italy claims that many online casinos are unauthorized and are asking Internet Service Providers to filter out these sites. Under current Italian legislation it seems that only 6 online casino sites are actually authorized. Why this restriction? In 2004 1.8 million Italian residents were playing at online casino websites; and the total revenues brought in by the Italian-owned sites were around 1.4 billion dollars. Italy simply wants to make sure that the online casino business stays within their country; the restrictions limit the profits from entering foreign markets.
Italy plans on fining Internet Service Providers anywhere from $36,000 to $215,000 per unauthorized online casino that is not filtered out of the system. The major problem that Italy will face with this decision is the violation of at least 5 different regulations set up by the European Community. By signing with the European Union a few years back, Italy signed a contract to follow the regulations of the European Community. Italy has gone against five categories set up by the EU; including the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide cross-border services as well as the freedom to supply telecommunication services.
These recent Italian proposal triggered the opposition of two European trade associations: The European Betting and Remote Gambling Associations. Both organizations represent the interests of large online casino firms. Considering that the country is part of the EU and that they have so many gamblers who reside within it, it seems unjust that Italy will have total control over the online casino business within its borders. Granted they have the rights to follow laws outside of the EU, they should reconsider their decisions to promote better business in the Union.