French online gambling operator Betclic Everest Group has won its appeal of the Italian regulator’s mysterious rejection of its license application.
On Thursday, the regional administrative court (TAR) of Lazio issued its ruling on an appeal filed by Betclic earlier this month challenging the rejection of its online gambling license application in February by Italy’s Agenzia della Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) regulatory body. Betclic was one of seven operators whose applications were rejected by ADM.
Betclic attorneys submitted written evidence earlier this month, arguing that ADM had yet to offer any explanation as to why Betclic’s application was rejected. The rejection was all the more puzzling given that the Italian government had expected to issue 120 new online gambling permits under its new tender process, but received only around 80 applications, meaning Betclic’s inclusion wouldn’t have resulted in another operator’s exclusion.
On Thursday, the TAR Lazio agreed with Betclic that it had been given a raw deal by ADM. The court’s ruling noted that the ADM’s actions made it impossible to determine “why the applicant was excluded,” particularly when four other firms were granted licenses with certain strings attached, and thus Betclic had not been allowed to “exercise its right of defense.”
The court cited the ADM’s claim that Betclic’s exclusion was “in compliance with the provisions of the code of contracts” but the ADM failed to cite the specific provision that Betclic allegedly violated. The court further noted that there was no denying that Betclic clearly had all the “general, technical-professional and economic-financial” requirements necessary for licensure.
Bottom line, the court ordered the ADM to reconsider the application and pay Betclic’s legal expenses.
Betclic’s victory came the same week that Italy’s total prohibition of gambling advertising and sponsorship took full effect. (The ban was passed last year but existing deals were allowed to continue until July 14). So, while Betclic had been active in Italy for years before its license renewal was rejected, it may have an uphill climb getting out the word regarding its imminent return.