A second landmark ruling on gambling, the ‘Placanica case’, puts pressure on EU member states to change their national laws restricting access to provision of sports-betting services.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on 6 March 2007 in the Placanica case, that “the Italian criminal penalties for the collecting of bets by intermediaries acting on behalf of foreign companies are contrary to Community law”.
The Placanica case involves the British sports betting company Stanley Leisure plc, the three Italian operators of which, Placanica, Palazzese and Sorricchio were charged in Italian courts with pursuing organised bet-collection activity without the required police authorisation, but obtaining such authorisation was impossible.
The Italian Courts referred the cases to the ECJ to verify wheter the Italian legislation on betting and gambling was compatible with the Community principles of freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.
The ECJ stated: “A member state may not apply a criminal penalty for failure to complete an administrative formality where, in breach of Community law, such completion is refused or rendered impossible by that member state.”