European betting group Stanleybet has lost its appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), challenging an Italian tax dispute concerning wagers processed through its data centres.
Stanleybet had brought an appeal to ECJ judges during the four-year tax dispute, challenging the €8 million tax charge by Italy’s Customs & Monopiles Agency (ADM).
Italy’s ADM had requested that Stanleybet pay € 8 million in respect of customer wagers conducted between 2011-2016 through the sports caffe assets of the company.
Stanleybet opposed the demands of ADM, calling the penalty ‘illegal and unfair,’ as its caffe wagers were managed by Malta-licensed data centres of the company.
The betting group argued that the tax charge on the ADM constituted a double tax on its sector, violating the EU’s charter on foreign business discrimination.
In its reply, ADM claimed that Stanleybet had deliberately used the technicalities of European licencing to avoid paying taxes on transactions through the caffe premises of the company.
Stanleybet’s case was forwarded for ECJ arbitration, Europe’s highest court overseeing commercial disputes, failing to find any solution through Italian high courts.
Eventually on Wednesday ECJ judges overruled Stanleybet’s appeal, finding that the ADM had the right to sanction the operator’s penalty regardless of the location of its data centres.
The ECJ ruled that there is no difference between Italian gambling laws on the’ basis of where a bet is placed’ underlining that ADDM’s tax charge could not be viewed as discriminatory against the Malta subsidiary of Stanleybet.
In addition, the ECJ noted that Stanleybet could not require a regulatory agency to adjust its oversight roles to ensure that EU-related irregularities are not present.