December 02, 2010

Italian cash games to launch from early 2011

The Italian cash poker and casino market could be open for business from early 2011 after an Italian Court rejected network provider Microgame’s challenge to the Italian government’s cash games decree.

According to sources close to the matter, the new version of the decree has been approved and will be published shortly on the Official Gazette, meaning the law will come into force with immediate effect.

Italy largest poker network, with between 25% and 30% market share, lodged the complaint in June on the basis that the cash games decree was different from the version previously submitted, as required under EU law, to the European Commission, effectively putting the launch of poker cash games and casino in Europe’s largest egaming market on hold.

Microgame claimed that additional certifications of gaming platforms and individual games introduced by Italian authorities into the decree would unfairly disadvantage the 120 small and medium-sized operators on its network by potentially imposing extra costs of up to €100,000 per operator. By comparison, the next largest Italian network in terms of the number of operators it supports, Playtech, has only four brands on its platform.

The Administrative Court of Lazio Region however ruled this week that the alleged differences between the version of the decree that Italian authorities planned to implement and that submitted to the EC had been solved by Italian regulator AAMS through the renotification in July of the draft decree to the European Commission.

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