New Law in Italy Restricts Online Poker

Published Thursday, July 30, 2009 -

The USA Russia and now Italy have joined the exclusive club of countries trying to restrict access to online gambling and in particular online poker. PokerNewsDaily recently reported that Italy tried as far back as 2006 to ban all online gambling operations outside of the country. The European Union responded with threats of legal actions against Italy for violating free trade rules established by the Union. Italy put off it's changes until it reached an agreement with the E.U. last February of this year. As of July 27 2009 Italy has put those changes regarding gambling into effect.

The changes that were enacted will make poker players in Italy a little less than happy. They include, things like cash games are not permitted, only tournaments. Player's will only be allowed to play for a certain amount of time each day with the site server being within the Italian jurisdiction and those operators are only allowed to accept only Italian players. The Italian Government is at least trying to control online gambling in their country even though the changes are extremely restrictive. Party Poker and Poker Stars were ahead of the game and developed web sites in Italy prior to the enactment of the new rules.

PokerNewsDaily reported that a spokesperson for PokerStars said, "We have no choice in this matter. The law that was passed recently by the Italian Parliament has made it very clear that offering real money online poker games to Italian residents can only be done by the sites that hold an AAMS license, like our PokerStars. it site, and the operators that breach this provision are committing a criminal offense. Note that this new law has been submitted for approval to the European Union, and the approval was granted." "Furthermore", the spokesman continued, "the Italian Government has directly requested PokerStars to stop providing services to Italian customers on its ".com" site after the new law comes into effect on the 29th of July 2009, and we have agreed to comply with this request as required by law." This action by Italy is sure to drive more avid poker players onto offshore sites where they can play as long as they want for real money.

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