Rome TAR Court Upholds ‘Denied Extensions’ Operator Appeals

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, Italian online gambling headlines have earned some welcome news.

As the regulatory body had refused to include guarantees that they would be able to reapply for licencing extensions, the operators had lodged separate TAR appeals against the ADM.

International operators were left in the lurch by the Italian Senate, which declined to review online gambling extensions (sports betting, casino and bingo) until Autumn 2022 on two separate occasions, affecting a reported thirty business incumbents.

The ADM sent a notice to operators directing them to ‘comply and turn off their online gambling services’ with licences expiring on 30 October, an order immediately challenged by operators.

After considering separate appeals, the TAR court ordered the ADM to ensure that a minimum one-year extension (until October 2021) for existing licences is issued to each operator, with immediate effective.

The judgement claimed that a marketplace right to seek further licencing extensions had been denied to licenced incumbents, irrespective of government and ADM plans to change market conditions.

In addition, judges sided with operators as its review cast doubts on the government’s approved understanding of licencing arrangements as a clause of the ‘2016 Budget Rule’.

Approaching 2021, the TAR orders that the government must guarantee licenced operators that all conditions for online gambling concessions are on the table’ for the implementation by the end of December of the next Italian Budget Law requiring parliamentary sign-off.