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Malta's E-Gaming Industry Could Benefit From Gambelli Case Judgement

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

25 August 2003


A case being heard by the European Court of Justice could prove significantly beneficial for Malta's e-gaming industry, should the court uphold a bookmaker's right to provide cross border services.

The case centres on an Italian data transfer firm's right to take online bets in Italy on behalf of a United Kingdom-based bookmaker, an activity which in Italy is reserved for the state authorities or firms licensed by the state. Along with 100 other defendants, Mr Gambelli, who ran the data centres, has argued that this rule infringes the EU's principle of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services.

His case has received crucial backing from Advocate General Siegbert Alber, who has stated that UK legislation provided sufficient proof of the integrity of the organiser of the bets. However, it must be pointed out that rulings from the Advocate General are non-binding.

According to a Times of Malta report last week, should the court rule in favour of Gambelli, it is thought that the industry will be subject to rapid change within the EU. In this situation, Malta would very likely be a major beneficiary of a liberalised European online gaming market.

As an acceding country to the EU, Malta has many advantages that online gaming firms will find attractive, such as a well regulated market place and favourable corporate tax regime, in addition to reliable broadband facilities.

A comprehensive report detailing the online gambling situation in the key offshore jurisdictions is available in the Tax News Reports Shop at http://www.tax-news.com/reportshop

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