(Gambling Compliance) Stanleybet Set To Enter Italian Licensed Market After Settling Gruelling Tax Disputes
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(Gambling Compliance) Stanleybet Set To Enter Italian Licensed Market After Settling Gruelling Tax Disputes

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Stanleybet has paid an undisclosed sum to settle its long-running quarrel with the Italian tax authorities, paving the way for the bookmaker to “enter the regulated market”. Italian financial police had estimated that Stanleybet owed around €101m in back taxes from activity that took place between 2008 and 2016, but both parties confirmed last week that as a result of the payment all tax claims for that period have now been cleared. The agreement means that after 20 years of court rulings – from tax commissions to the European Court to the Italian Constitutional Court – Stanleybet and its lawyers Daniela Agnello and Roberto Jacchia have finally closed the last of a series of tax inspections targeting the operator. The company’s board will make a decision in the next few weeks about whether to open an office in Italy for the first time. Giovanni Garrisi, chief executive at the bookmaker, said: “There are now all the conditions for Stanleybet to officially enter the Italian concession system through the next betting tender, [which is] expected to take place in September, according to the law.” Although Garrisi demurred on revealing how much the bookmaker paid, he stated that “legality has now been restored”, and said that although “it was a long and certainly harsh battle, it eventually led to a shared definition, at least in terms of direct taxes”. The bookmaker still owes outstanding betting duty to Italian regulator AAMS, but may be exempt from paying following a recent ruling in Italy’s Constitutional Court, which ordered tax authorities to shelve an investigation of 750 unlicensed Stanleybet outlets, ruling out the collection of tens of millions of euros in back taxes. The case relates to Stanleybet’s refusal to pay a pre-2011 tax bill dating to 2015, with payments largely due from agents, or dealers, who ran, and still run, outlets on behalf of Stanleybet. According to the ruling, which was published a month ago, although it is legitimate for the state to tax betting shop agents linked to companies not authorised in Italy, taxes cannot be collected on business they conducted before the 2011 budget, known in Italy as a Stability Law, which introduced a specific framework for calculating money owed to the state by unlicensed bookmakers. “The duty applied on the betting shops is not a tax, but in reality it is a fine the state has imposed on us to try to block Stanleybet from entering the Italian gaming market,” said a company spokesperson in the wake of the ruling. The case could be brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union this summer. In the meantime, Stanleybet said it has already begun to pay corporate back taxes owing from October 2017, “and in the following months the Italian taxman will receive Stanleybet’s first report”. Garrisi said that “if the monopolies recognise that Stanleybet can stay in the market, we are ready to link up with the tote and enter into the Italian regulated system. We will not accept any kind of amnesty for the past.” The start of the betting tender depends on the ratification of an agreement between Italy’s recently replaced government and the country’s regional mayors, which remains pending. If the tender is not issued, Garrisi told GamblingCompliance that Stanleybet is “ready to sit down at the table with the regulator, sign a new agreement and join the regulated market

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