Just last week the Italian gaming news agency Agimeg reported that Italy’s gambling regulator had so far received “less than 10 applications” for the new licenses, which cover mostly all gambling activities – sports and race betting, casino, poker, exchange betting, virtual sports, etc.
The licenses cost €200k apiece and are valid through 2022. Applicants must already hold an online gambling license in a European Union member state and boast annual turnover of at least €1.5m over the past two years. If applicants can’t meet these standards, they have to put up an additional €1.5m bank guarantee.
My latest interviewee is among the leading lawyers in Italy. Quirino Mancini is Partner and Global Head of Gaming & Gambling Practice at Tonucci & Partners.
Thank you for accepting this interview. My first question would be what are your expectations from the call for bids from online gaming operators? How will this change the Italian gaming industry?
Quirino: Judging by the first enquiries I have gathered since the announcement of the new licence tender, it would seem that notwithstanding the Italian market is already packed, there still are operators willing to enter it. This applies not only to B2C operators but to B2B ones too, even though unlike, most European regulated markets, the Italian licensing model does not require B2B operators to hold a local licence in order to offer their services, so if the trend is confirmed I reckon the Italian market will be somewhat re-shaped as a result of the advent of the “hybrid” operators (B2C+B2B).
The launch of the bidding process was expected much earlier. What hindered the launch, and does this have any effect on the process of bidding?
Quirino: The only reason for an otherwise inexplicable delay in calling the remote gaming licences tender is the quite populistic and very often ill-informed political pressure, notably across the whole parliamentary board, to restrict the gaming offer. Unfortunately the local gaming industry has so far proven unable to pull their acts together in terms of putting together a consistent, coordinated and effective effort to somehow redress the mounting wave of discredit and bias thrown at operators who are fully legal, legitimate, licensed and do pay taxes in Italy as if instead they were a bunch of offshore-based pirates ripping and abusing the poor Italian consumers.
There are several online gambling licenses which have already entered the Italian iGaming market and now only require the renewal of their licenses. My question is what is your opinion how difficult this process will be for the rest of the applicants?
Quirino: The licence tender process is all but difficult provided the prospective applicants duly meet the eligibility requirements and take timely action filing-wise. The real challenges for them, once licensed, are (i) going live in less than one full year bearing in mind the many technical peculiarities and specificities of the Italian remote gaming model that notably entails a 24/7 connection of the operator’s servers with the central control system ran by the regulator, (ii) having a good product fit and also customised for the local players, and (iii) having a clear vision for an effective and creative marketing strategy.
The delay in the online gaming licensing might have had an effect on the shared online poker liquidity agreement signed by Italy as well. What is your opinion regarding this problem?
Quirino: I believe that when it comes to shared international liquidity, the more newcomer operators join the party, the better it is for the players in terms of creating a sufficiently large pool.
It has recently been announced that Italy will not join the official start of the project. Will you, please share your ideas related to this issue?
Quirino: On 4 March 2018 general elections will be held in Italy. As already mentioned in a previous reply, at this time there definitely is too much focus, bias, propaganda, mis-information and pressure surrounding the gaming business for any sensible politician to want to be seen as the one who facilitated the offer of more gaming services to Italians, and because regulators take instructions and directions from the government and the parliament, you may easily figure out the rest of the story
To meet Quirino in person, make sure you register and attend Prague Gaming Summit 2018, held on the 29th of March at Andel’s by Vienna House Prague.
Quirino Mancini is the global head of the gaming and gambling practice at Tonucci & Partners(www.tonucci.com), a top-ten Italian general practice firm with offices in Rome, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Florence, Tirana, Bucharest and Belgrad.
Quirino is one of the leading Italian gaming and gambling lawyers with a specialist practice of almost 20 years. He acts for Italian and foreign-based online and land-based companies operating in the Italian gaming market, advising them on legal, licensing, regulatory, day-to-day compliance and any other operational aspects connected to their activities. He also runs a bespoke matchmaking and business strategy service to provide clients with a customised type of assistance that includes also introduction and facilitation of dealings with the local regulatory authorities, banks as well as scouting and suitability checks on potential business partners.
Quirino is a regular speaker at most international gaming conferences and sits in the editorial board of various sector reviews and magazines.
Co-founder and editor of www.gaminglaw.eu, a pan-European information and commentary portal focusing on legal and regulatory issues under European and national gaming laws.
Secretary and fellow member of the Leadership Committee of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), a worldwide organisation gathering regulators, lawyers and advisors, in-house counsels and educators engaged in the gaming business. Fellow member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)
CEEG Awards 2018 sees huge interest, new categories added, nominate by 15 July 2018
Budapest – 22 June 2018 – “The Central and Eastern European markets are vital in terms of realizing our vision of providing software and services in every regulated market and we are absolutely delighted to have won the award for Best Sports Betting Provider at the 2017 CEEG Awards. As a company we’re very proud that the quality and depth of our product is recognized in this way and we look forward to expanding further in the region.“, these were the words of Richard Carter, Chief Executive of SBTech, after winning the Best Sports Betting Provider last year at the Central and Eastern European Gaming Awards (CEEG Awards).
The gambling industry in the CEE region has seen a significant growth in the past 3 years and it seems that the once small gathering which awarded the top companies in the region has grown to become a prestigious gaming award.
The awards ceremony at CEEGC (Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference) has been part of the event from the first edition and during the last 2 years the category numbers are increasing yearly.
Such is the case in 2018 as well! A month ago, we have announced that this year there will be 15 categories, but due to the high number of nominations and requests, 5 new categories have been added to the list.
With the addition of the 5 new categories, we have revamped the award classes and will make it more interesting for runner ups.
European Gaming Media and Events, the producer of Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference and Awards is honored to announce that the awards will be given for the following categories:
B2B Sports categories:
Best Sports Betting Innovation, “Rising Star” in Sports Betting Technology*, Best Overall Sports Betting Provider, Best Overall eSports Service Provider*, “Rising Star” in Fantasy Sports*, Best Overall in Fantasy Sports*
B2B – Casino and Lottery categories:
Online Casino Innovator, “Rising Star” in Online Casino Technology*, Best Online Casino Provider, Best Cryptocurrency Gaming Platform*, Best Lottery Service Provider*
Operators – Sports categories:
Best Customer Support*, Best Overall Sports Betting Operator
Operators – Casino categories:
Best Customer Support*, Best Overall Online Casino
Media and connected services (payment processors, translation, testing, etc.) categories:
Best Overall Payment Service Provider, Best iGaming Press in the region, Best iGaming Service Provider (Translation and Localization, Hosting, Consultancy), Best Testing Laboratory
Responsible Gambling (open for providers and operators)*
Best Support for Responsible Gambling
*new category in 2018
You can nominate your company on the following link: https://ceegc.eu/awards/categories-2018/
Nominations phase closes on 15 July 2018 and will be followed by the online voting period between 1-31 August 2018.
The top 5 voted companies will reach the shortlist and the winners of each category will be decided by envelope style voting by present delegates at CEEGC Budapest on the 25th of September at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest.
OFFICIAL LOGO OF CEEG AWARDS
CEEGC2018 Budapest announces BetConstruct as official lanyards and badge sponsor
Budapest – 22 June 2018 – We are honored to announce BetConstruct as the official lanyards and badge sponsor at the third edition of Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference and Awards.
The ongoing partnership between BetConstruct, cutting-edge technology developer of the gaming industry, and CEEGC Budapest started in 2016 at the first edition of the conference and has continued ever since then.
The third edition of Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference and Awards is going to take place on the 25th of September at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest and promises to catapult the conference even further as the leading boutique style executive event in the region.
With an impressive lineup of speakers and unlimited opportunities for delegates to harvest quality content, the conference promises to be sell out!
The subtitle of the 2018 event is “The age of Machine Intelligence and how regulators must keep up with technology” and the agenda is full of high quality content. CEEGC 2018 will once again feature regulatory and compliance related panel discussions about Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, but will also focus on Responsible Gambling, AML, Licensing Procedures in the European Union, Innovation and will feature a special IMGL MasterClass™.
Make sure you grab your seat in time and attend the most prestigious boutique style gaming event which gather C-level executives yearly in one of Europe’s most visited city.
BetConstruct is an award-winning developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions with development, sales and service centers in 16 countries.
BetConstruct’s innovative and proven offerings include an extensive range of products and services, including Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Retail Solutions, RNG & Live Dealer Casino, VR Casino, Poker, Skill Games, Fantasy Sports, Social Platform and more. The latest addition is the industry-first complete management infrastructure, SpringBME (Business Management Environment).
All partners benefit from the BetConstruct Spring platform with its powerful back office tools and all-inclusive services that empower operators’ growth and help contain their costs. From stand-alone set up to turn-key and white label solutions, BetConstruct offers its partners unfettered opportunity to succeed.
Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M to join European Gaming Congress (EGC 2018) Ljubljana, Austrian market update
Ljubljana – 13 June 2018 – The inaugural edition of European Gaming Congress will be held on the 16th of October at the Grand Union Hotel in Ljubljana and it’s the latest conference we are putting together. (read more about the event here…)
The event is expected to bring together industry expert from all over Europe and create a platform which will enable both networking and learning at the highest quality.
As the event will touch base about many important updates coming from European jurisdictions, one of the subjects of the first panel discussion is the Austria gambling market.
The Austrian gaming market grew by 4 per cent and the revenues touched the €1.675 billion mark in 2017. These are impressive figures, but internationally licensed operators account for 65 per cent of the segment’s revenue.
According to Andreas Kreutzer, of the Kreutzer Fischer & Partner consultancy, online gambling, fuelled by international websites, grew by 11 per cent anyway and had the largest share of the growth.
It is not a positive news for Win2Day brand, the only locally approved online operator. The Austrian government needs to update laws to implement a proper taxation regime on the segment.
The OVWG called forth that a new regulation with a licensing procedure is urgently needed in Austria, but that 50 million and more than 1,000 qualified jobs are at risk with the planned revision. Game and betting stakes have increased by around 10 percent in the last two years, while the online market increased 25 percent in 2016.
While the BMF argues in its draft that player protection is a top priority, the OVWG said that the argument to justify the market exclusion of unlicensed reputable providers does not apply because some already have valid EU licenses, therefore they meet high standards in terms of player protection.
You may have gotten used to bad news coming about the Austrian gambling market when it comes to licensing, but Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M is hoping to bring some positive news to EGC this fall.
Dr. Raffaela Zillner, LL.M. runs the General Secretariat of the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG). In this position, she’s the first point of contact for all association matters. Raffaela holds a law degree as well as a Master’s degree in Information and Media Law and a doctoral degree in law. Furthermore, Raffaela successfully passed the Vienna (Lawyers) Bar exam. In her professional career, she has worked as an Associate at a Vienna-based law firm with a special focus on gambling and sports betting law.
You can view the full agenda on the following link.
Full detail about the event can be found on the official website of the event: https://europeangamingcongress.com/
Make sure you grab your seat as the seats are limited to 100 registrants!
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