13 September 2007

Betting licence procedures under tight EU scrutiny

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the case (C-260/04) concerning the renewal of horse race betting licences in Italy which states that “the Italian Republic failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 43 (freedom of establishment) and 49 (freedom to provide services) of the EC Treaty“. In particular, the Court found that „the Italian authorities infringed the general principle of transparency and the obligation to ensure a sufficent degree of advertising“. Today’s court decision is in line with previous ECJ rulings reached in the Gambelli and Placanica cases.

According to the ECJ, Italian authorities cannot restrict access to European operators simply for the purpose of guaranteeing “continuity, financial stability and a proper return on past investments for licence holders”. Moreover, the Italian argumentation failed to show how the renewal or maintenance of the old concessions without a tendering procedure would in any way help to prevent clandestine betting.

According to Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA: „The Court’s decision sends a clear signal to Member States currently offering, or planning to offer, licences to European gaming and betting operators. The Court clearly states that the licensing must be undertaken within a set of clear and strict parameters, which are in line with the EC treaty. The Court‘s decision also underlines that these licences cannot be awarded without a transparent, competitive and fair tendering procedure“.

The EGBA considers today’s ECJ ruling marks an important step towards a regulated European gaming and betting market and encourages Italy and other EU Member States to review their legislation.

press release EGBA, 13 September 2007

ATE and River City Group to Merge and Re-brand as Clarion Gaming

Following on the successful purchase of two key gaming industry event/publication companies by Clarion Events, a merger of those into a single entity called Clarion Gaming will begin in September 10, 2007 and be complete by early 2008.

ATE produces the major London exhibitions ICE and ICEi, along with The Betting Show and other conference events. In July 2006, ATE was joined by sister company, River City Group. Together we produce the European I-Gaming Congress and Expo (EiG) and BetMarkets. River City Group produces the Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo (GIGSE), World Poker Congress, Asian i-Gaming Congress (AiG, formerly PCIG) and I-Gaming InDepth conferences. In addition, both companies are responsible for key trade publications such as IGaming News, Betting Business, and Casino Review among others.

Simon Kimble, Managing Director of Clarion Events in London, said, "We made these two strategic purchases to get a foothold in serving the global gaming industry. We expect, as these two companies integrate, that they will form a dynamic foundation allowing us to assemble yet more key gaming industry event and publication companies in various regions of the world."

What does this mean for River City Group clients? Our staff and services will remain essentially the same and we plan to continue to offer the same trusted services to you as our readers, delegates, exhibitors and sponsors. This merger will allow us, and by extension, our clients, a broader reach as the lines between terrestrial and online gaming services continue to blur. We’ll be offering a combined suite of events and even more innovative digital information services so that you can best reach your markets.

Clarion Gaming, as the newly merged companies will be known, will espouse the same principles that have allowed River City Group and ATE to become the standard by which gaming companies gauge conferences and exhibitions serving their markets. Under this new moniker, we look forward to the opportunity to improve even further upon our new and established business relationships via the increased resources and reach of a shared identity and assets.