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Online Gambling in Italy, Quirino Mancini (Tonucci & Partners) shares insights in an exclusive interview

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PragueGamingSummit.com
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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.

Interviewee profile:

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)

Reka is an Experienced English second language teacher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Microsoft Excel, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Translation, Foreign Languages, and Lecturing. Strong education professional with a Bachelor’s Degree majored in English Language and Literature/Letters. Reka is in charge of conducting the exclusive interviews on European Gaming and our printed magazine

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CEEGC 2019

CEEGC2019 Speaker Profile (Poland Briefing): Ewa Lejman (Head of Polish Desk at WH Partners)

Zoltan Tundik

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Polish business lawyer with over 12 years of experience of assisting clients on matters related to gaming and gambling, contract law, M&A and IT service market law to share gambling industry insights of the Polish jurisdiction at CEEGC 2019 Budapest.

As announced earlier, the Polish gambling industry briefing will be part of the “Emerging CEE jurisdictions” compliance panel discussion at CEEGC2019 and will be joined by leading experts of the industry.

The briefing about the jurisdiction will be presented by Ewa Lejman, Head of Polish Desk at WH Partners, who will bring valuable insights she has on how the Polish gambling industry is performing after the new legislation came into force. The panel discussion is important for operators and service providers who can have a direct impact on the market or harvest from their investments.

The 4th edition of the yearly Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference will take place on the 24th of September at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest, and provides a unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the CEE and Balkans region via the CEEGC platform which is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the region on a yearly base.

Register here or View the Agenda!

 

About Ewa Lejman

Ewa is heading the Polish Desk of WH Partners as part of the strategic partnership under the WH Partners brand with Izabella Żyglicka and Partners, a very well reputed full-service law firm in Poland and a member of Ally Law.

Ewa is a business lawyer with over 12 years of experience. She assists clients on matters related to gaming and gambling, contract law, M&A and IT service market law.

Ewa has gained extensive experience in the following fields:

  • Gaming and gambling – She handles Polish and foreign economic operators running their businesses on the market; the services provided are connected, in particular, with handling of the process of obtaining licences, establishment and registration of companies related with Polish entities, preparation of documents, such as policies, internal procedures, agreements, terms and conditions, as well as advisory services in cases regarding intellectual property, personal data protection and dealing with litigation;
  • IT and IP law – she handles day-to-day legal and tax services of Polish and foreign companies in this field, including start-ups;
  • International contracts law – she constantly advises and analyses contracts of foreign companies operating on the Polish market, particularly in terms of production, distribution of machines and sales of services involving the IoT;
  • Tax law – she effectively represents clients before tax authorities and administrative courts; she advises alternative investment funds (Alternative Investment Companies – ASI, Alternative Investment Management Companies – ZASI); she has authored publications in this field of law;
  • M&A – she performs multimillion M&A transactions.

Ewa Lejman is a laureate of the Rising Stars Lawyers – the Leaders of Tomorrow 2015 competition. She was ranked 4th in Poland.

http://whpartners.eu/our-team/ewa-lejman

 

Browse the official event website for more details: www.ceegc.eu

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CEEGC 2019

CEEGC2019 Speaker Profile (Hungary Briefing): Gábor Helembai (Senior Associate at Bird & Bird Budapest)

Zoltan Tundik

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Leading Hungarian Lawyer to explain the current situation and what is to be expected in the Hungarian gambling industry at CEEGC 2019 Budapest.

As announced earlier, the Hungarian gambling industry briefing will be part of the “Emerging CEE jurisdictions” compliance panel discussion at CEEGC2019 and will be joined by leading experts of the industry.

The briefing about the jurisdiction will be presented by Gábor Helembai, Senior Associate at Bird & Bird Budapest, who will once again share the insights he has on the what is to be expected in the upcoming period in Hungary. The panel discussion is important for operators and service providers who can have a direct impact on the market or harvest from their investments.

The 4th edition of the yearly Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference will take place on the 24th of September at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest, and provides a unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the CEE and Balkans region via the CEEGC platform which is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the region on a yearly base.

Register here or View the Agenda!

 

About Gábor Helembai

Gábor is a Senior Associate in the Corporate and Commercial teams in the Budapest office of Bird & Bird. He advises on both domestic and cross-border transactions and investments in various industries. He has a special sector focus on gaming/betting, advising major online and land-based operators, and slot machine manufacturers on regulatory matters.

Gábor has represented clients in negotiating a concession agreement with the Hungarian State, assisted different clients from non-gaming industries in their gaming related matters (e.g. promotional games), and supported clients in transaction matters in the gaming sector.

Browse the official event website for more details: www.ceegc.eu

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CEEGC 2019

Emerging CEE jurisdictions (compliance panel discussion) moderated by Rita McClelland (GamblingCompliance) at CEEGC2019 Budapest

Zoltan Tundik

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Senior Legal and Research Manager at GamblingCompliance to moderate regional panel discussion at CEEGC 2019 Budapest.

Industry media outlets are always reporting how the Hungarian Government is keeping a tight leash around the gambling industry in the country, however, this doesn’t mean that the industry hasn’t shown developments and is still considered as an attractive market for many operators and software providers. While online licenses are still granted to land-based casino concessionaires, but that might change in the near future. You can hear why, by attending CEEGC Budapest and paying attention to the CEE regional briefing.

The case is different in the neighboring Slovakia, where the new gaming law is in full force. Starting in 2019, private domestic companies, as well as companies from the European Union, are able to apply for online gambling licenses. There have plenty of operators jumping in on the opportunity and applying for licenses, however, the outcome and success of the new legislation is still writing mode.

On the other hand, there have been quite a lot of news around another emerging Central and Eastern European jurisdictions, and that is Poland. It has been reported that Poland’s sports betting turnover jumped 55% in 2018 and it is most likely to jump further in 2019 with all the new licenses that have been granted to international operators.

All three market updates (Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland) and much more around investment possibilities for operators and software providers will be discussed during the “Emerging CEE jurisdictions” compliance panel discussion, which will be joined by leading experts from the region at CEEGC Budapest.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Rita McClelland, Senior Legal and Research Manager at GamblingCompliance, who will ask the burning questions the industry has for Ewa Lejman (Head of Polish Desk at WH Partners), Gábor Helembai (Senior Associate at Bird & Bird Budapest) and last but not least, Dr. Robert Skalina (Senior Advisor at WH Partners).

The 4th edition of the yearly Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference will take place on the 24th of September at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest, and provides a unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the CEE and Balkans region via the CEEGC platform which is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the region on a yearly base.

Register here or View the Agenda!

 

About Rita McClelland

Rita is managing the team of legal analysts at GamblingCompliance, the leading provider of independent legal, regulatory and business intelligence to the global gambling industry. Rita has extensive experience in following and analyzing legal and policy developments that affect the gambling space. A fluent Hungarian and German speaker, Rita has taken a keen interest in the Central and Eastern European region. Rita obtained her qualification as a Doctor of Laws in Budapest, Hungary.

Browse the official event website for more details: www.ceegc.eu

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